Space Ramblings

Microsoft vs Google – The Real Matchup

Microsoft’s attempt at seizing Yahoo on the high seas and its introduction of Cashback is casting a sharp light on Microsoft’s desperation to succeed in search. The missteps along the way have been many. Netscape surrendered its portal business to Yahoo. By the time Microsoft has chased down and destroyed Netscape, Yahoo had surrendered its search business to Google. Now Microsoft is trying to chase down Yahoo, even though Yahoo doesn’t have the search business anymore.

Microsoft still doesn’t get it after all these years and that’s not about to change. Google has built its multibillion dollar business by indexing information, using the index to power no frills search and charging money for selling ads on the search results. Google has moved into hosting content with YouTube, Google Video and Blogger and providing apps like Gmail and Google Docs, but with the final goal of generating more content to index and sell adds on. Google has a very simple business that works because of its simplicity and non-intrusiveness.

Microsoft is trying to get into search the way it gets into everything, monopoly bull in china shop style. Microsoft built up its business selling apps to businesses. These apps were typically bloated and required constant upgrades and were built up around a proprietary operating system. When the internet exploded, Microsoft tried to take control by building in a variety of cloned internet access software, from Internet Explorer to MSN Messenger but the software was bloated and second rate and all it did was provide the exit ramp to the internet. Microsoft foolishly believed that controlling the exit ramp meant control of the internet, but it had failed to learn from its old rival Netscape that it doesn’t work that way.

Instead all Microsoft has wound up doing is creating an exit ramp to Google’s websites and services. And Microsoft still can’t understand that to change that it has to genuinely compete by innovating and moving ahead of Google instead of rolling out the same redundant and bloated offerings that are meant to be alternatives to Google and Yahoo sites and services that people are already happy with.

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