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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Google's war with Microsoft

a long article in MIT Tech Review on Google's "war with Microsoft":

Google's defeat is not a foregone conclusion. Indeed, if it does everything right, it could become an enormously powerful and profitable company, representing the most serious challenge Microsoft has faced since the Apple Macintosh. But if Microsoft gets serious about search -- and there is every reason to believe that it will -- Google will need brilliant strategy and flawless execution simply to survive.

What should Google do? Google should understand that it faces an architecture war and act accordingly. Its most urgent task must be to turn its website into a major platform, as [Amazon has] already done.

Google should first create APIs for Web search services and make sure they become the industry standard. Second, it should spread those standards and APIs, through some combination of technology licensing, alliances, and software products, over all of the major server software platforms, in order to cover the dark Web and the enterprise market.

The Microsoft giant is awake, says Charles, and it's hungering for a Google snack.

The impressive Google cluster is one part of Google's competitive advantage. I'm curious to see if Google does start offering better web services APIs. I'd certainly love to get my hands on that juicy cluster.

But will Google lose the search war if it doesn't offer better web service APIs? I doubt it.

Google has an impressive track record of innovation on its own. Amazon has web services APIs because it is seeking outside developers to boost innovation. Yahoo is considering them for similar reasons. But it's not clear Google has a problem with innovation. Google's biggest problem seems to be getting all the innovations available internally out the door and available to the public.

Furthermore, Google's lifeblood is advertising. Google is in the middle of building an advertising revolution. I think it is the AdSense revolution that will empower small websites and businesses, wrapping them around Google, not a software API into Google's infrastructure.

That being said, I do expect Google to launch services that allow users to further exploit the power of the Google cluster. But I expect these to be finished services like GMail that target end users, not web services targeting developers.

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