Google's Still No Threat To Microsoft

Is Google like some crazy uncle or is Google's strategy crazy smart?

Someone was asking me, "just what is Google's strategy?" I had to describe Google this way, "Google's like this crazy uncle who is rolling in dough from his first business, and who likes to use his money to keep the rest of the world guessing as to what he's really up to." Google's like a chaotic-neutral D&D character. They're a search company who keeps trying to find a way to become a consumer software, or web service-ware company. The knock against Google has always been that nothing ever gets out of beta. Well, that stereotype was finally weakened when Google Apps finally had the beta label removed this week.So, is Google a real threat to Microsoft or not? Eh, yes and no. Any competitor with a lot of smart people and a lot of cash is always a threat. They may hit onto something that really slams their nemesis, Microsoft. But so far, Google's efforts have been more to keep Microsoft off balance, rather than to take a substantial market share percentage or revenue amount away from Microsoft. With Bing in place, Redmond now seems to have at least a reasonable response to Google's moves. Check - Check - no Checkmate yet. Their moves seem to counterbalance each other. Look at it this way.Google Search vs. Microsoft Bing: It's a big uphill climb, but Microsoft finally has a quality, differentiated search offering. Time will tell if Bing will really be a contender to Google search. Winner: Google.Google Apps vs. Microsoft Office (installed and online web-based): Google's made inroads with smaller companies and individuals, but even with Exchange integration, hasn't made a big dent yet in the land of MS Office. Winner: Microsoft.Google Sync vs. Integrated Microsoft Office: Google's still busy integrating Google Apps and Mobile with core Office functions like syncing with Exchange. Microsoft Office has been and continues to be very well integrated together. Add that to the fact that Office 2010 will be both installed and cloud capable, and SharePoint 2010 will be a strategic, highly integrated component of Office. Winner: Microsoft.Google Wave vs. Sync Framework, Live Framework, and Live Mesh and Online Office. Google Wave may take an innovative approach to building the next generation of web applications, but Microsoft is pursuing a sync + online strategy. I'm a big believer that sync is and will even more so, be a huge part of how we build future applications from desktop to the cloud. It's still pretty early for Wave so we don't know yet how big a deal Wave will be. Winner Microsoft.Google Android vs. Windows Mobile: Android has the potential to reach and surpass Windows Mobile, as WM has languished in the shadow of the iPhone and to some degree, Android. Because Microsoft Windows Mobile is so far behind where the state of the art is today, and because Android's presence in market is still early, plus it's not overly impressed anyone, I'd call this one a draw. Winner: Tie.Google Chrome vs. Internet Explorer: IE certainly still has the browser market share, and IE has no shortage of haters. But the Chrome Browser hasn't toppled IE from the top spot. I'd have to give IE the node here because it's held onto the top market share spot, but that doesn't mean IE won't be toppled. Winner: For the time-being I'd have to give the node to Microsoft.Google Chrome OS vs. Windows 7, Vista and XP: Google Chrome OS is still vaporware at this point, where as Windows 7 is nearly out and ready to make amends for Vista. Add the fact that Google Chrome OS is making the bet that all apps will be web apps, and I'd have to say Microsoft is poised to do very well with Windows 7. Winner: Microsoft.Google App Engine vs. Microsoft Azure: New territory for both. Google App Engine hasn't take off yet, I'd speculate because of its limited offering. Azure is still in beta and not ready to take on the world quite yet. Winner: This one's a tie.That's Google 1, Microsoft 5, and 2 draws.

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