Why is Google dangerous to Microsoft

Computer software has for more than two decades been the treasury of the Redmond-based company everybody knows as Microsoft. They have ruled the software industry not only with good products, but with an astute strategy of tapping into the source of the software business: the reliance of PC markers in a common operating system to unify the platform.

During those more than 20 years, Microsoft has had many competitors, but the status-quo never changed: Microsoft dominated the deals with PC makers such as Compaq, IBM, and Dell. Thus, there was little that software companies could do to protect their products. When Netscape created its prize-winning browser, in the mid-90s, it was just a matter of time until Microsoft used its dominant position to offer a free, simpler alternative to Netscape Navigator, and sweep it from the Map.

Ten years later, Microsoft is still the dominant player, but the situation is very different. The PC is still the leading computing device but is not the only one. Day after day we see new devices such as mp3 players, PDAs, cell phones, and game players, just to name a few. Many of them claim part of our attention as new computational devices. Microsoft is still powering a lot of them, with its Windows CE operating system, but it is far from the total domination we have in the PC industry.

In terms of corporate power, Google is now certainly the new kid on the block. And different from other companies, Google seems far from maturity, with an online business that is growing daily. The question is: what is the threat that a company such as Google poses to Microsoft?

Many people think that Google may be interested in writing software to compete with MS, or even provide its own operating system at some point. Although this is a possibility, the business model that Google has adopted in the last few years seems to imply that it has little interest in the traditional software business. They are really trying to get better at exploring the gold mine of advertisement.

The techniques they can use in this process is where the danger is for Microsoft. The more people use computers to access Google's results and the content of its affiliates, the more Google makes money. But Microsoft is a barrier for on line users, because everyone needs to pay MS an upfront fee just to use their software. In this way, Microsoft is a problem for Google: you have to pay MS the fee to access the content that Google wants to share with you.

Thus, it is for the greatest advantage of Google that Microsoft be defeated, simply because this will considerably lower the price to access online content. Instead of paying $500 for a computer box, costs may go down at least $100 just by removing Microsoft from the equation, and Google definitely wants this to happen.

Given the status recently acquired by Google, the future for Microsoft looks now uncertain. Google can simply enter the hardware market and produce web viewing boxes with open standards. They can create their own OS running their own applications. But what is for sure is that they will do whatever is necessary to allow universal access to the web and the medias where they control advertisement dollars. And since MS is cornered on the position of protecting its beloved Windows, there is not much it can do to avoid it, without loosing the Gold Egg Hen.

In summary: even being in a different market, Google looks to defeat MS because it is the best way to increase access to its content. And different from Microsoft, Google has not a single product to defend, but a vast array of online offers that run on any of the available computing devices, from mobile phones to PDAs, Macintoshes and PCs. Google is looking to give access to the whole online world, Microsoft is looking to lock users into its software offers, and there is no other way for MS to go.

Looks like an interesting stage. And worse for MS, very few people few sympathy for its position -- let us see what the result is gonna be.

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