Office isn't the only Microsoft hegemony that Google Gears could help destroy. One of the defining differences between Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux is the application lineup. That's given the crew in Redmond, Wash., tremendous power. ButMy first response was this.
technologies like Gears render the operating system irrelevant.
So, here I am, thinking about it bit more. I will go over this in a little more detail:
- Google will "kill" Microsoft.
While not really arguing with this argument, I'm not that sure what "killing" Microsoft means. There were aplenty cases in the history, when something buried by others is still pretty much alive. For such a huge entity as Microsoft, not only from software point of view, but economically - I'm not sure anyone can explain how can it "die". I'm not saying that disappearance of Microsoft is not possible - it is. But Microsoft has so huge impact on technological way of life in our world, and especially on world's economy (Microsoft's software, hardware, platforms, intellectual property - and I mean in its pure logical sense of inventions, its financial base) - that I believe its almost a stand-alone machine which needs no human interaction to function. Too much effort and resources are put in it. So much, that its "death" seems to be possible only as a result of sudden unexpected surprise (like aliens invasion). So, yes, Microsoft will (I'm sure of it) loose its hold on a desktop and in business. But that doesn't mean it will die. It will shift its act into other areas, and as any other meta-organism it will keep fighting for its life. So, Microsoft's death? Not visible on my radar.
- Google applications
Yes, Google has a lots of useful applications. I use Gmail and Google Reader myself. Even documents sometimes. But it really scares me that I might use everything online. While this may not be a security issue (say I'm keeping my sensitive information with me all the time), but in a Big Brother kind of thinking. Trusting Google with all the things I do online? To be able to track each and every step I do? To be able to say at any moment with high success probability what my internet usage patterns are? That's scares the hell out of me. So I'd use Google apps, even in offline mode, but I do want a control over my computing needs. Paranoia, anyone?
Now, while the argument here is being online and that the importance of operating systems installed locally is diminishing (which I've been saying for a long time). I agree to this statement, but why would anyone mentally healthy think that Microsoft would do nothing about it? (But that I suggest that Microsoft will also develop a platform for online applications).
- Online service
That is the most unwise argument in whole the story. If being offline is that matters, why would Google beat Microsoft? Because sometimes I will be without the net access and still be able to do my work? Then why would I need Google for that? I still have my OS (be that Windows, Linux or Mac), and I don't really have to use Google, right? So here I see 3 possible choices:
- Google develops offline tools for their applications, allowing offline work. Microsoft get caught unprepared and dies off.
- Microsoft develops online tools for many of their "offline" applications. Google get caught unprepared. Nothing happens to it.
- Both Google and Microsoft provide online as well as offline applications, and competition is going on for the benefit of all customers.
Besides, in a few years the whole world will be online anyways anytime. Offline? Say what?
- All the other stuff
As I've already said, there are so many areas where Google and Microsoft do not even compete, at least not yet. And these are pretty hefty areas with much money in them. How would Microsoft be killed by Google again?
Maybe, but I'm not holding my breath yet.
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