The Clash of Giants: Google Vs Microsoft

These days a new arena appears: the “hand-top” devices.

The storm started with Apple iPad and now accepted as the new “next big thing” to happen.

Hand-top devices are computers that can be carried by hand and escort a human through out his day. It attempts to connect to the internet whenever there is a “hot spot”. Holding a computer in the hand allows people to:

a. Use it as a cell phone.

b. Connect and browse the Internet.

c. Handle Email.

d. Use a diary. Ability to publish its content and share diaries.

e. Conduct Audio/Video conferences ever if traveling.

f. Read eBooks.

g. Edit and write documents.

h. Conduct location based searches.

i. Play games.

Basically it is a desktop computer minimized in: size, weight, and mobile. It allows its owner to be more efficient during idle time (when traveling or moving away from his/her desk).

The two giants: Google and Microsoft prepare to clash head to head in this arena.

As they assemble their armies, Nokia has announced that she goes with Microsoft. Other software and hardware vendors need to pick side in this war, and make sure they make a clever decision. The result of this competition is very significant to the dominance of either in the computer/Internet arena.

Here is a summary of the difference between the giants:

  1. Browser:
    Microsoft supplies the mature “Internet explorer”. Google supplies the young “chrome” browser. While Internet Explorer grew to be gigantic and heavy. Google claims that their browser is faster. Chrome browser did not evolve in several versions, but delivered as a mature and light first version.
  2. Search engine:
    Microsoft supplies “Bing” a somewhat new search engine. Google supplies its own “Google” search engine. The advertizing in the search results gives Google its enormous income. Recently Google has become too greedy in number of advertizing appearing in the search results. This can give Bing some boost.
  3. Editing:
    Microsoft supplies the computer-based “office” suite. Google offer the “Google docs” which is cloud-based service. Google service has gained significant user based. Google docs enable sharing and make the files accessible and shared over the net.
  4. Working environment:
    Microsoft supplies the small network sharing called “Workgroup”. Google supplies bigger “cloud network” which allows document sharing on larger scale.
  5. Operating system:
    Microsoft supplies Win phone 7. Google supplies a new operating system: “Android”.
  6. Developing language in use:
    Microsoft uses c#. Google uses C++.
  7. Code base:
    Microsoft supplies propriety technology with open API. Google relies on “open source” code.
  8. Libraries supplied:
    Microsoft supplies DLL libraries (Which are invoked at execution time. Missing DLLs lead to the phrase “DLL hell”). Google supplies static link libraries. (Which are included in compilation link time and does not rely on the existence of special environment on the target computer).
  9. Communication protocol:
    Microsoft relies on “SIP” (Session Initiation Protocol). Google relies on “XMPP” protocol and “Jingle”.

As you can see, Microsoft and Google are set to compete in many direct areas, and the war has started.

The entrance of Google to the document editing arena is a big threat to Microsoft who gains big earning from their “Office” suite. This by itself can be considered as war declaration by Google. We can see that a project started only 11 years ago grew up to become a giant that can threaten Microsoft.

Microsoft on its end, is not sitting idle. Microsoft has launched its own renewed search engine to compete with Google on the search engines arena and the ads publication fee. Google became a little greedy lately and overloads the search results with ads. This does become annoying and open Microsoft Bing to be used more by the Netizens.

The next big war will be in the front of hand-top devices. Both companies are spending huge amount of resources in this arena. Vendors are tempted with open google search api, sample code and tutorials to make them pick a side. Apple, who in many ways started the hand-top devices with its iPad and iPhone, is not a participant in the war and remained as a niche provider. Apple presented somewhat “close” environment to developers. But some of them were able to develop “applications” to their device and market it through “Apple store”. This presents a way in which vendors can make money from their programs, which is also a challenging issue these days.

The number and quality of the “apps” for the hand-top devices will be a big factor in winning the market. This is the reason both Google and Microsoft court the vendors to develop.

Both companies and vendors are looking for the next “Killer application” – application that addresses a hidden need in the market. Such an application can deliver wealth to its manufacturer.

Time will tell us which company wins this battle, and whose operating system will be majorly accepted. So making the right decision can be crucial to companies and vendors who want to operate in this area.

We need to see how the big war will be and who prevails.

Personally, I bet for Google. Their tools are more “freebees” and open source, and they have more income then Microsoft. The “open source” strategy will get the involvement of the Internet developers community, getting contributions from thousands of people.