Maybe everyone was waiting for the Microhoo giddiness to be over. Maybe everyone had enough of hearing about the whole deal. Whatever it is there appears to be a more clearly defined landscape emerging as to who is going after what amongst the largest Internet players in the world. One thing for sure is that as the next phase of the Internet Age starts to unfold there is going to be some serious ‘contact’. It’s the corporate version of training camp opening up and preparations are being made to knock the snot out of the competition.
Microsoft and Google have seen their rivalry kicked up a notch in recent weeks. First, Google announced Chrome OS, the company’s first operating system. Then Microsoft announced the new version of Office with major cloud app support. Then Microsoft announced its deal to take over Yahoo’s search business. Starting today, Google is back on the offensive, with a major promotional campaign to get the word out about organizations switching to Google apps for their daily computing needs.
The offensive includes billboards in San Francisco, Chicago, New York City and Boston that will display a different message about Google Apps every day for a month. There are apparently 3,000 new organizations turning to Google daily to put together varying combinations of Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and the other Google apps. With the Microsoft Office online version looming in 2010 there is no time like the present for Google to grab the minds of those who do not want to invest in Microsoft products or are so fed up that they would make the switch to Google. To hear Google tell it they are going to make the work of IT departments and everyone else magically more productive and float on fluffy clouds of perfection at the office.
Add to the mix that Google’s CEO has resigned from the Apple board of directors because the amount of competitive overlap between the two company’s would force Eric Schmidt to recuse himself from board business more often than not an you have the makings of an Internet ‘Battle Royale’. Four will enter (we’ll throw Yahoo into the fray since the are now co-habitating with Microsoft) and quite possibly all four will remain. What is going to happen for sure is that they are going to look different after it is all said and done.
It appears that Google is trying to be “The Search Engine That Is Your Business Engine” with the ability for small businesses to enterprise level accounts having “all things Google” except for the hardware. Microsoft is trying to make people forget that they have complained about their OS and their software for forever and now they are THE search engine that actually get the web. Yahoo is ‘all about community, man’ where they are trying to keep their massive number of users in the ‘family’ as much as possible. And then there’s Apple. They just sit on the sideline and screw up everyone’s game plans with cool devices and things that the others can’t do as well or even at all. They’re like the high school nerd who has come back to wreak havoc on the jocks that tormented him years ago. I almost feel like they are toying with everyone and waiting to take over the world themselves.
So what’s this going to look like in the next year or so Pilgrims? Who stands the best chance to end up on the top of the heap and why? Who will the big losers be? Will it be a company or the consumers? Please leave your thoughts and your crystal ball prognostications below. Thanks.