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Google - Microsoft battle to come?

Once Microsoft gets Longhorn moving and  integrates its search more tightly with Longhorn, google will be in trouble. That is to put it mildly. There are some complaints about anti-competitive practices, but  M$ would rather  pay and get sued rather than lose. Secondly, internet search has already been integrated- into Windows XP, although its extent is not as limited.

The second thing Longhorn seems to attempt is to wipe out any trace of competition in the "Developer" market.  Anyone who develops on Longhorn will find it very difficult to port elsewhere. The WINE linux project is obsolete in 2 years. And thats 10 years of works down the drain. Delphi, Powerbuilder and others will find that **Everything** they have done for the past 10-12 years is a waste. COM,ActiveX, DDE, ODBC. you name it. Even their IDE would have to be recoded. They simply cant catch up. Even providing 10-20% of the features is going to be a huge fight.

This battle will be unlike the small wars we have seen before. For example, the demolishing of Lotus 123 or the intimidation of Netscape. For the first time Microsoft is attempting to crush a company that has lots of intellectual capital- and lots of guts and bold not to take it lying down like IBM (Lotus) or Borland did.

So do you think its likely that google will respond in kind?.
It has to be some big move. The 1 Gig E Mail is just probably a starter. The main problem is that companies like Google often think they can replicate their success technologically. I mean, google cannot- with all its money hope to build something  as radical as the google search engine all over again. Heck !, microsoft has been trying to grow innovation with its money and all they come up is with some new jazz.  So google **will** have to get down from the lofty intellectual towers and get dirty with microsoft.

Getting "dirty" may mean a lot of things. A Linux desktop with built in google search engine?.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Here is the link for the last Linux quote  which i forgot !!
Exciting !

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I dont really agree :) 

First, in all the time Ive known of them the MS backed search has sucked beyond belief. (haven't even looked in the last year...has it improved at all?)

Search is _hard_, doing it properly requires a level of flexibility IMO that MS will be unable to copy.

Second, Longhorn is; so far at least; still pretty much vaporware...2 years and counting, its meta data search sounds cool but in practice it will depend largely on users entering the metadata, and in my experience they do that for approx the first 15 minutes and then give up.

Third, IMO inside of 2 years MS is going to have other priorities beyond google....the Linux desktop is up and running from a slow start (anyone checked out Suns Looking Glass?  pretty funky and easily a replacement for win98)
The Linux Desktop is already far more stable than win95/98 ever dreamed of being, and its recently gained a huge amount of resources from companies like Sun, IBM, Novell etc etc etc....even walmart is going to be shipping Linux desktops.
Linux drivers are appearing from the hardware companies more and more frequently.

Finally, so long as they can surf the web, send email and use basic word processing; most users dont know or care what the operating system they are using is called. (and when you take into account the fact that using a linux distro on their old computers is so much faster as to be the equivalent of buying a brand new computer and putting an xp installation on it...)

All of which means that MS monopoly is dead already, they just dont yet realise it.
Im not yet ready to back that statement up with a Linux version of any of our apps, but we will be in the next year or two I have  no doubt....we ship a mac version already (in most cases) and by all accounts the Linux market share has already grown beyond the mac market share....

Beating google at search?  hah...they cannot even beat a bunch of hippies at programming...

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

"Anyone who develops on Longhorn will find it very difficult to port elsewhere."

When has that NOT been true of Windows development?

"The WINE linux project is obsolete in 2 years. And thats 10 years of works down the drain. Delphi, Powerbuilder and others will find that **Everything** they have done for the past 10-12 years is a waste. COM,ActiveX, DDE, ODBC. you name it."

There doesn't seem to be much evidence to support all this.  Longhorn will continue to chug along with all the standard Windows API stuff.  Including COM, ActiveX, DDE, ODBC -- you name it.

Longhorn will certainly push .NET as the center-piece of Windows development but Borland and the Linux camp is already on that.  There really aren't any surprises here.

Almost Anonymous
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

This is a bit of a tangent, but I get email bulletins from Fawcette publications a few times a week.  These guys target the MS developer community and are strong MS advocates, if you're not familiar with them.

Lately, there have been several screechy editorials from Jim Fawcette telling us how awful Google is, how arrogant they are, how they have an incipient monopoly that must be stopped, etc.  Really silly stuff, but where did this axe to grind come from in the first place?  My guess is either 1) MS asked him to come down on Google, or 2) Jim Fawcette at least believes that he'll score points with MS by coming down on Google.  It's interesting.

Matt Conrad
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I'm intrigued by anyone who believes that Microsoft can somehow leverage their desktop monopoly in the arena of internet searching -- what could they possibly integrate "into the operating system" that would improve the usability or benefits of internet searching? I can't think of anything that's more than a passing gimmick, and that wouldn't just offend users who couldn't use it on their work PC that's still running on NT 4, etc.

People grossly overestimate the abilities of Microsoft time and time again. The Xbox was originally designed to leverage the desktop monopoly (via synergy and developer knowledge), but in the end it was just another game machine that sold because it was heavily subsidized. MSN is just another ISP no matter how pervasive the icons are. The PocketPC is just another PDA that eventually won the market through technical superiority and persistence (and technically ineptitude and greed by its primary competitor), and again the operating system synergy is largely irrelevant. Windows embedded is largely a non-starter that few vendors are interested in. Microsoft audio technologies have sputtered, and have only been adopted via large cross marketing agreements (usually with Microsoft paying vendors to implement it), while Apple comes out with a little device and owns the market overnight.

Ultimately internet searching will be won by whoever has the best search technology. Search technology isn't something that you can throw a thousand monkeys - it really isn't something that can be partitioned well, so the size and monetary advantage of Microsoft is diminished. Of course in four years, after failing to win over the public, we'll hear some Microsoft PR rep yip about how "now they're really...", and all of the starstruck will talk in amazement about how $A is in big trouble because now Microsoft means business.

Dennis Forbes
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

One assumption the OP makes is that the actual introduction of Longhorn will have an immediate effect on all competing technologies, which is manifestly untrue.

Assume that everything in Longhorn had arrived with XP.  Would the situation be remarkably different today?  It would just barely begin to be starting to swing towards all the benefits those new technologies offer.

Add to that delayed effect Microsoft's penchant for announcing vaporware  and semi-vapoware (Longhorn's not getting the full WinFS, is it?), and their deserved reputation for late delivery of new tech, and there's no reason anyone should change any of their development strategies, even on the evening that Longhorn actually comes out.  MS has delivered some interesting, good, strong stuff, but nothing that swept the world when it first arrived; they've always built gradually to a commanding market position with long-term business strategies (and a little monopoly never hurts, either :).

Justin Johnson
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Talk about Vaporware.  I'm not buying the WinFS client side schemas at all.  It makes no sense.  Are we going server oriented or client?  Web Services or monolithic desktop apps?

christopher baus (
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

How many people here run Linux on the desktop.  I'm firmly recommend linux servers/platforms to my clients, but linux hasn't been on my desktop since high school when I was using it to get girls.  I'm a NERD, a gadget guy, someone who programs for fun, and I don't run linux on the desktop.  Maybe i'm the minority, but that should say something.  Usually, people like me are doing something 2 or 3 years before the technology is mature enough for the general public (for example, I use open office etc.) to use.  My honest opinion is linux has a LONG way to go before it begins to seriously threaten microsoft on the desktop. Now, the server market?  Thats a different story....

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

We are all thinking like nerds and thats the problem.

Dont you understand?. Having the best second search engine DOES NOT matter. Yahoo has a bad search engine. But their market share is 10-20% lesser than google and they are a SOLID second.

So it does matter if miucrosoft integrates it into the desktop and msn takes off.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

"How many people here run Linux on the desktop."

I do. My main desktop at home is Mandrake. My second desktop is Win98, where I do my music stuff. My third desktop, which I only use as a last resort, is XP.

FullNameRequired has one thing right on spot - If Longhorn's search is going to require users inputing metadata in order to be effective, forget it. I, too, have seen this fail time and time again.

Actually, I do have a goal regarding Longhorn - by the time it comes out, I hope to be able to say "I don't need it" :)

Paulo Caetano
Thursday, April 29, 2004

Google are in fact building their own unique computing platform, see

John Topley (
Thursday, April 29, 2004

meh....Im seeing that statement a lot these days but I dont really agree with that either.
<g> bottom line is that all googles got so far is search software, email software and community software....theres a _big_ step between that and an entire online OS.

seriously, the primary part of an operating system for the user is its file structure.....would _you_ give up the ability to store files locally in exchange for a browser-based desktop?

there are a few areas where googles advantages work for for a certain category of files (not-large, either not private or encryptable, not likely to be worked on when offline) but theres a huge step between what they are offering now and an 'online operating system'

I see them more as a search engine with some integrated optional extras (none of which particularly appeal to me personally...I literally require nothing more than search facilities from them.)

dont fall for the hype :)  (the hype has not been generated by google itself but rather by overly enthusiastic geeks with a good imagination.)

Thursday, April 29, 2004

o) Linux desktops are ok-ish. KDE and gnome are both sluggish IMHO. XFCE works very well. WM is ok. The only thing that bugs me now a days though, is that every app seems to have its own widget set.

o) The idea of online operatingsystems is interesting. Maybe when most people have  10mbit or faster connections. Today.. hardly.

o) I wonder what Google is planning to do with all that computing power?

Eric Debois
Thursday, April 29, 2004

"it will depend largely on users entering the metadata, and in my experience they do that for approx the first 15 minutes and then give up."

Waw, you get a whole 15 minutes? I'm impressed. In fact, I would be impressed if you got anything at all. Honestly though, I think many people inside MS know that in order to get any meta-data at all, the collection will have to be without user intervention: fully automatic.

As for search, Whole Internet searching and local or enterprise search are completely different things. Google is pretty strong in the former, but I do not see them having a dominant position in the latter. Will MS get into the enterprise search game? I don't know. Do you see much enterprise deployments of sharepoint for search? Maybe if they bought ?

As for Longhorn: Longhorn will first roll out in 2006. Maybe. Many people are finding win98 still "good enough" in 2004. Can you imagine how many people will still be finding WinXP "good enough" in 2012? Unless MS can pull of bringing the PC to an entirely new level, it is my believe that by 2012 Longhorn penetration in their installed base will be no more than 40%. The whole ease of deployment and maintenance of web with functionality of rich app is compelling, but it is a feature of .NET, and does not rely on Longhorn. The only truly compelling enterprise feature could be NGSCB, allthough that also has some serious hurdles to overcome. WinXP WS2K3 is a pretty though competitor to beat, and it is the main competitor to the Longhorn wave platforms.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, April 29, 2004

"Waw, you get a whole 15 minutes? I'm impressed"

<g> we put them through special training beforehand.

"I think many people inside MS know that in order to get any meta-data at all, the collection will have to be without user intervention: fully automatic."

and, therein, lies the rub IMO.

I entirely agree, its obvious even to a blind man that MS will have to somehow overcome that barrier, and automating the creation of meta data is the only solution for that.

<g> Ive spent a small amount of time considering how I would solve the problem 'create meaningful metadata for this document'

Sometimes its simple....a text doc for instance can be parsed in the same way as an email or a web page, nothing new there. (although..again...internet search is something that MS does startlingly badly IMO).
but images? random binary files?  files that I dont want to be indexed?
The best (only?) solution I can come up with is having a 'name' field in the save dialog and an 'info' field and making them _both_ required.
<g> which will result in a fair few files indexed under 'aaaa', 'dsfgsdfg' personal favorite...'jdfndskjf'

You can use a few other clues....say, tracking files from the second they come onto the machine and filling in metadata from that...'arrived email 23/4/2222 at 12:15','moved to desktop file called tomboy from email on 23/4/2222','deleted 23/4/2282'
and that would still be moderately useful..I could search on 'arrived via email' even when Ive forgotten the date, maybe it would also attach the 'from' field of the email.
hmm..what else (this is actually kind of an interesting problem)...'created via scanner','copied to desktop file tombotreply','emailed to jack@home'

Some of that kind of stuff would work wonders for files that either moved onto my machine from outside, or departed to the outside world in a way that I would remember.

how about....excel worksheets?  never moved, copied or emailed after creation, just used to do my accounts (ok, ok..Id prolly make one backup on a regular basis)
If the computer starts indexing that Im gonna be pissed, so definitely a 'no index' flag is important.
Im going to save it as 'XXXXX accounts 19_3_09', in what I will hope is a hidden folder. if im forced to enter metadata its going to be something innoculous so as not to attract attention to itself.
basically those kind of files are out of the loop...

That would work pretty well overall though...files I work on dont tend to be emailed much, but then on the whole I know what they are anyway (and prolly wouldn't want them to be indexed)..files that are passing through it would be nice to be able to track by email address.
hmm..although I already can via the email client itself.

ahh, I dont know...seems to me that if all that the Longhorn search amounts to is an extra 'info' field in the file metadata, theres not a lot there worth the hype.

Something that tracked files as they came in and left would be interesting I guess.

actually, what I _really_ want is a few hundred gigs of easily portable filespace in a handy pocket holder, that will allow me to select it as a basic, bootable OS when I need to.
ideally big enough so that Id never, ever need to delete anything...just once in a while I could create a new 'permanent' partition of some kind and copy everything into there.

google has kind of let me do that with its gmail approach, but only kind of and its all unavailable when Im on an off-line computer.
windows hasn't even thought about letting me go there.

Linux provides a simple, small bootable OS but no memory.

OSX/Apple gives me the ipod with a small amount of the memory, but no bootable partition and no decent amount of memory.

yet still these companies are all fighting over niches I dont particularly  wtf?  like theres not enough free email storage around.  internet search?  google works, I could care less who is providing the facility providing it works.

Do you know what I think?  I think computer companies are having a really hard time working out what computers are actually for in the home environment.
In workplaces its easy, but what do people use computers for at home?  games....if only that then peoiple buy a console...word processing/email/internet?  then in most cases what they have already is more than sufficient.
(seriously, someone I know was talking about purchasing a 2 gigabertz winboxen so they could use it as a home machine)

Apples ploughed into the lifestyle making, iphoto etc and thats a good idea but its all too expensive for the average person anyway.

MS OTOH is flailing around like a headless multi-billion dollar company....I often get teh feeling that MS has no idea whatsoever why anyone at home would want to purchase(lease?) XP.
<g> and when its not flailing around its using its competitive advantages to drive companies that develop windows software out of business...Ive never understood that...why should MS be against realplayer having a good presence?  so long as its on windows.....

gods its late.

what was my point?

ah, yes...computers IMO are proving themselves entirely unnecessary in the average household....worse, they are increasingly proving themselves to be a burden in both cost and time.  As a rule they can do nothing that a more specialised device would not be able to do better and with less trouble.

I have no idea why that seemed like a useful point to make in a discussion about the google/MS

Thursday, April 29, 2004

The main difference is that you won't be able to run winXP in 2012.
It won't be available for sale, you wont be able to "borrow" a copy to install because of activation.
There won't be any security upgrades and new hardware won't have drivers.

Site licences will only be available for longhorn which will come with a new version of office with a new file format.
You want to read you boss's word docs - you will have to upgrade as well.

Martin Beckett
Thursday, April 29, 2004

Since all that was true in the past as well (volume licences do not require activation), why do you think the future will be different?

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, April 29, 2004

A couple of points:

People don't run the Linux desktop because they nornally get Windows bundled. It's nothing to do with technical inferiority - you want to play a game or use Encarta or plenty of other things that the occasional user does, and you can't guarantee Linux will run it. And in third world countries where the price is a real factor people just pirate MS stuff.

Useful meta data has got to be entered and people just haven't got the time. I'm emptying an Outlook folder and I really ought to use categories so I can find everything that was in it and have new stuff in the same category. It's just too time consuming.

Yahoo uses (or used) Google as its search engine. The reason it is still where it is partly historical; becuase it classified sites manually it was by far the best search engine until google came along. And Yahoo groups, Yahoo mail and geocities help keep many other punters.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, April 29, 2004

>>"The Linux Desktop is already far more stable than win95/98 ever dreamed of being"

Linux is better than a 9 year old version of Windows !!!

Now *THAT'S* an endorsement !!

My Cousin Vinniwashtharam
Thursday, April 29, 2004

Small comment on automatic indexing of image files. . .

A few years back, their vision of this was identifying key attributes in images.  i.e.  This picture is a picture of Ryan, this one is Katie, and this one is Nick.  Then, other image files are scanned employing facial matching algorithms to determine that this picture contains Nick and Ryan, while this one is Nick, Ryan, and Katie.  As far as music goes,  *legal* music comes with a full set of meta-data, and even most ripped music pulls its meta-data off the web.  Pattern matching in video gets a bit more tricky, but similar principles apply.  And now adays, cameras capture quite a bit of meta-data when you snap the picture. 

Much of the meta-data for media files is readily available, and what is missing is feasible today.  Knowing that Microsoft has been working on such problems as pattern matching in images and videos, voice matching in audio, and other simmilar problems, its not unreasonable to think that they would be able to do this.

As far as the past track record goes, for all of this capability to show up in one release, doubtful.  Do I want them to succeed?  YES!  I would love to have all of these features readily available as a user, and anyone that wants them to fail is just being bitter.  Would it be equally beneficial if these features also were available on Mac and Linux, YES!  And anyone that says otherwise is also being bitter.

Make it useful and make it good -- the rest is academic.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

And to further the meta-data collection, integration with Outlook proves key.  If you have scheduled on your calendar that you are going on vacation to the beach between 06/05/2004 and 06/12/2004, then when you take pictures with your camera between these dates, they can be flagged as beach vacation (as described in outlook).  Then when you scan for all the pictures from the beach trip, it merely flags those with the appropriate dates.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

"OSX/Apple gives me the ipod with a small amount of the memory, but no bootable partition and no decent amount of memory."

According to this guy, you can boot Mac OS X from an iPod:

Did you mean Windows?

Jim Rankin
Thursday, April 29, 2004

"bottom line is that all googles got so far is search software, email software and community software....theres a _big_ step between that and an entire online OS."

Did you read the article?

It looks like an online OS is EXACTLY what Google has.  They've recruited a ton of top level OS theory guys, and evidently have some wicked tech making their 100,000 servers look more or less like one big honkin' computer (way oversimplified paraphrase of article).

The confusion might be that they're not trying to replace the desktop operating system with their operating system.  It's an OS for web applications, things like the world's greatest search engine, comparison shopping, and giving people 1GB of email for free.

The desktop is MS's tar baby for competitors.  Google is wise to focus on being the dominant server side player.

Jim Rankin
Thursday, April 29, 2004

Anybody else get seriously pissed off when Microsoft makes the assumption that you *want* all your user files buried 6 directory levels deep in "Documents and Settings"?  I hate that...  And it seems that the Longhorn indexed file system is going to only manage that directory.  So if I put my personal documents in "D:\Mike" or "T:\Pr0n" then I get no advantage from the technology.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Umm, change the directory.  The "My Documents" folder on my computer is definately located at "d:\Elephants Documents"  They've got to default it to somewhere, but that doesn't mean you have to leave it there.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

"Did you read the article?"

yep.  I see where its going, but IMO the theoretical online operating system is as much vaporware as Longhorn at this point.
they've got a mass of storage space, and good backup/indexing/retrieval facilities.  Thats as far as it goes at the moment., and theres a huge step between that and getting anything practical.
Dont lets overlook the obvious :)

I had no idea you could boot off an ipod.....thats very cool Ill have to see if I can get it working here....

Thursday, April 29, 2004

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