Microsoft Monitor (Joe Wilcox) writes:
The real threat [to Microsoft] remains the Web and how a vendor like Google has found a new way to exploit the Internet’s utility beyond Windows. Additionally, consumer interest in digital content and non-PC devices and the possibility another platform might rise to dominance has to scare the hell out of some Microsoft executives. Microsoft knows, because the company has been there. IBM’s mainframe monopoly didn’t dissipate because of the PC; it’s relevance diminished as the new platform soared to dominance.
Search is one of several mechanisms (fast data connectivity is another) that could catalyst alternative platforms. Search would give tremendous utility to portable devices connected to the Internet or home or corporate networks. With so much computing focus on information and so much information stored somewhere else (meaning not locally), ubiquitous search could unify the utility of many disparate types of devices. For example, in the advancing communications era, a smartphone could offer Internet search, e-mail, instant messaging and even digital content capabilities like taking pictures without the need for a Windows PC.
So like Microsoft integrated the browser into Windows to fight off the threat posed by the Web, so the company is looking to tie the utility of search to its operating system. Because any technology utility where no Windows is required threatens Microsoft’s core franchise. And I’m betting some very smart people recognize that search is one of several utilities that could catalyst smaller devices into serious alternative platforms.
Greg Linden adds: “The threat is much larger than just Google. It’s about the future of Windows as the dominant computing platform…Microsoft has been fighting this battle for many years. They worried about the rising power of handheld devices like Palm Pilots and cell phones, so they launched Windows CE. They worried about the additional functionality being built into game consoles, so they launched XBox. They worried about the rise of entertainment devices like TiVo and Replay, so they launched Windows Media Center. They worried about the threat from web-based applications, so they launched IE and MSN.”