Microsoft vs Google

Fortune has a story on the classic challenge of today: Microsoft (Gates) vs Google.

Google has become a new kind of foe, and that’s what has Gates so riled. It has combined software innovation with a brand-new Internet business modeland it wounds Gates’ pride that he didn’t get there first. Since Google doesn’t sell its search products (it makes its money from the ads that accompany its search results), Microsoft can’t muscle it out of the marketplace the way it did rivals like Netscape. But what really bothers Gates is that Google is gaining the ability to attack the very core of Microsoft’s franchisecontrol over what users do first when they turn on their computers.

Inside Microsoft, the battle with Google has become far more than a fight over search: It’s a certifiable grudge match for king of the hill in high tech. “Google is interesting not just because of web search, but because they’re going to try to take that and use it to get into other parts of software,” says Gates as he leans forward in his chair, his body coiled as if he could spring to his feet at any second. “If all there was was search, you really shouldn’t care so much about it. It’s because they are a software company,” he says. “In that sense,” he adds later, “they are more like us than anyone else we have ever competed with.”

Selling to the Poor

Red Herring writes:

There are five billion people in developing countries that are currently underserved, but cant wait to join the global economy, says Coimbatore Krishnarao Prahalad, a University of Michigan professor and author of best-selling business books, including The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits.

Consumers at the bottom of the pyramidas Mr. Prahalad refers to the poorcant afford the same products as Western consumers. On average, they earn less than $2 per day. Mr. Prahalad, considered one of the worlds most influential business thinkers, believes companies can make a profit targeting this market, if they make their advanced technology affordable.

First, price/performance ratios need to improve by a factor of 30 to 100, he says. But contrary to popular belief, there is more to it than just taking existing technology and removing some functionality, he says. Products for developing countries often have to be more advanced than those for the developed world.

How can one sell more advanced products at lower prices and still make money? Through innovation, says Mr. Prahalad. The $39 you pay for a DVD player that was made in China isnt all about low labor costs, he says. It is about doing things differently.

In India, car manufacturers such as Tata and Hyundai sell cars for $7,000for $9,000 you have a car with a video screen in the back seat and the quality is high, says Mr. Prahalad. Why do we sell cars in the U.S. and Europe for $20,000?

India is proving to be a popular testing ground for new, affordable products in a variety of fields, including artificial limbs and disposable razors.

Apple’s Tiger

Walter Mossberg gives it an excellent review:

Overall, Tiger is the best and most advanced personal computer operating system on the market, despite a few drawbacks. It leaves Windows XP in the dust.

It also adds to the Mac’s general superiority over typical Windows computers as the best choice for average consumers doing the most common computing tasks. Apple’s hardware already was the best in the business, and Mac OS X has, so far, escaped the virus and spyware problems that plague Windows.