Good Microsoft, Bad Google??

Taking a break from the innards of TCP/IP, I bring you two interesting blog posts.

First Verturebeat’s Matt Marshall asks: In history revision, Microsoft now a friend of the valley?

Second, Robert Cringely opines: The Future is Cloudy: Google’s plan to host ALL our applications.

Both may seem to be unrelated, but lets consider them both.

Matt says:

But now that Google has emerged as the all-pervasive menace, Microsoft has been transformed into an aging, less threatening knight, albeit with pockets and interests deep enough to help you against the Google onslaught. Microsoft’s alliance with Facebook — which calls for Microsoft to invest $240M in that company — has capped the transition.

Interesting inversion, don’t you think? Kind of like America springing to plucky little Britain’s aid after Pearl Harbor. In this case Microsoft’s Pearl Harbor was Google’s huge IPO and the raft of  highly successfully geek-drool-inducing products they released. And the Britons are everyone else in the Valley that have yet to go over the the Dark Side ( 🙂 ).

Think of the perceptive transformation that Microsoft has gone through. 3000 Microsoft Blogs (last I checked, which was while ago) and Robert Scoble have done loads to bring a human face to Microsoft. I remember once emailing Robert just after Office Live had its public debut for some specific details ( I was looking for a platform for a company web presence) and got a reply from the program manager 8 hours later.

Microsoft has done plenty to reach out to the community. Think of Mix06 and Mix07. The entire conference is on video with slides available from visitmix.org so anyone can take a look (I’ve still to get round to watch the sessions I downloaded 🙂 ).

Now take Robert Cringely. He looks at what Google’s Data Centre build out means, taken together with their MySQL contributions and their agreement with IBM to promote Cloud Computing to Universities.

By working with IBM to promote cloud computing to universities, Google is accomplishing two very important goals. It will first put them in touch with every graduate student doing work Google might find interesting. So it is first a hiring tool. But by teaching students about cloud computing Google and IBM are also seeding the technology in the companies where those students will take their first jobs after graduation. Five years from now cloud computing will be ubiquitous primarily for this reason.

But Google wants us to embrace not just cloud computing but Google’s version of cloud computing, the hooks for which will be in every modern operating system by mid-2009, spread not by Google but by a trusted open source vendor, MySQL AB.

Mid-2009 will also see the culmination of Google’s huge server build-out. The company is building data centers large and small around the world and populating them with what will ultimately be millions of generic servers. THAT’s when things will get really interesting. Imagine a much more user-friendly version of Amazon’s EC2 and S3 services, only spread across 10 or more times as many machines. And as with all its services, Google will offer free versions at the bottom for consumers and paid, but still cost-effective versions nearer the top for businesses and education.

Google’s goal here is to help us, of course, but along the way the company will have marginalized most higher-end computing vendors, especially Microsoft. They will have also made us totally dependent on Google services in such a way that we’ll never, ever, be able to extricate ourselves. We’ll be slaves, but happy slaves, and Google will come to dominate all computing for the next generation.

Now if Microsoft ever tried anything like this, I’d probably have to turn off comments to avoid the Death-To-Microsoft chants from the virtual mob.

This, of course, risks taking a left turn into the whole Dependency on Microsoft Question. But, for the sake of argument Leopard and Linus’ Every Flavor Linux settle that question just fine.

I use Google Mail for correspondence, Calendar for scheduling , Search for the obvious reason, iGoogle for my dashboard-view-on-the-world, Webmaster Tools.

What if we’re all reduce to running dumb terminal emulators connected to our Google-Instance on their servers? Fascinating idea, I’m sure. I mean what’s not to like about carrying your whole computer around with your Google Account and password (would save my shoulders lots of grief that’s for sure 🙂 )???

Taken with Google’s insatiable hunger for startups, is Google Microsoft-that-everyone-loves-to-hate 2.0???