FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, September 23, 2005

The New Net War: Microsoft vs. Google

Ten years ago, Netscape threatened to knock Microsoft out of its position at the center of the personal computing universe. Having initially missed the Internet boat, Microsoft quickly had to reposition itself, freely distributing its Internet Explorer browser, which quickly became the de facto standard and leaving Netscape in the dust.

Today, another company is threatening Microsoft's dominance: Google. Once again, Microsoft is adjusting its strategy, shuffling management and making its MSN Web portal a key component. This time, however, the challenge is more than simply besting a single application. As a series of Web-based services, Google takes an entirely different approach to its business. It's also wealthy, with at least $7 billion in the bank. It's working to acquire cutting-edge Net applications such as Skype, and is reportedly looking to build a nationwide optical network. And it's attracting some of the best though leaders in the business... including some former Microsoft employees.

But Microsoft isn't exactly poor itself, and has proven itself a nimble competitor despite its size. As Google and Microsoft wrestle for Internet dominance, the end result could be mass convergence as Internet players create news alliances and constantly tweak their business models. The great unknown from all this convergence is the future of the Internet. How radically will it change? And will it remain the open platform we've come to know and love?

Source: ZDNet