While Microsoft and Yahoo reached an agreement for a 10 years collaboration in the search market attacking Google’s root of business, Google has also launched Android and Chrome O/S to hit Microsoft’s root. Yahoo got stuck in between the two giants. To survive, it shares its existing and large market share of search user base and likely to focus on content based Online Advertising Campaign based business.
Through this collaboration, we can categorize the three companies into two types:
Software and Web Services bias – That would be Microsoft and Google.
Content bias – That would be Yahoo!
Why did I think so? The reason is simple. Yahoo cannot beat the other two in software. It’s role, right from the very beginning has been like a Portal to other information (they call themselves Content Aggregator). Search Engine is very much a software and AI challenge. Microsoft and Google seem to be much stronger on this. Operating System is even more obvious that it’s not the cup of tea for Yahoo. In simple terms, Yahoo is left to be like an online portal of content (like plain old newspaper but online). Unless Yahoo fundamentally reinvent themselves as a software company, it’s hard to beat Google and Microsoft in Search Technology in long run.
Microsoft and Google both try to beat each other by launch competitive products targeting each other’s foundation. Google is doing O/S and Microsoft is doing Search! It’s hard to say who will win ultimately. To me, Microsoft has proven to be a big giant, heavy but still wanting to reinvent itself to maintain it’s edge despite that it’s not very successful in the Searh and Online base.
Google has the advantage of the right start for the Internet age. Whatever it does seems very much “advertiser sponsored” focus thus fitting the “free stuff” culture of Internet. And Google has grown to be a strong teenage so it’s not a kid anymore. It has smartly prepared itself for the Online Software market right at the start. As I explained to my non-technical friend, Google has started off with Online Services like search and gmail. Those software will likely to support “offline” in a PC to gain the speed and erase the network access interruption to grow. However, the PC is not the same PC you and I are using. They are likely the tomorrow (not so far tomorrow) PC – the Phone. In the day where Google is launching Chrome O/S for netbook and Android for PDA market, what I have said seems to be a reality.
If I have to bet, I will bet on Google for the online services and advertising market because it has produced great online software and product so far. Microsoft has grown to be a bit too big and resulting slower less innovative products. I assume that there will be no M&A between Microsoft and Google to made such bet. We can, of course, not tell the future for sure. I have also assumed that the Microsoft’s enterprise software market is isolated from the battle. (However, Google's another bet on the Google Wave as a Universal Communication Server software seems to be hitting Microsoft's Enterprise Software business, see my other blog post here.)
It’s likely to be years of dog fighting and a fun to watch battle.
After a long wait, I've dived into buying the "HTC Magic" mobile phone based on Android operating system. This is a big personal decision to move away from the Windows Mobile, which I have been using for last 12 years. Another choice, iPhone, does not appear to me cause it seems to be an iTunes focused product. I am not a music lover. iPhone is great but it’s just not for me.
The new Android phone is great. My 4 days experience using the HTC Magic is great. UI pretty smooth, user friendly and flexible. Handing Chinese is great. Every typical mobile PDA function seems great. Price is reasonable! (HK$4,680 less $100 rebate by credit card and $100 cash coupon by the store) I am a cheap person. Price is never low enough for me!).
However, those are not the primary reasons I switch to the new phone O/S. I brought the phone because of Google and it's seemingly never ending attempt to push new, integrated and useful web-based communication software. I believe the cross product integration will be much better (PDA + Online WebMail) and future development will be faster. After I've done some data cleansing, I have imported my MS Outlook contacts (thousands of them) into Gmail. Once in the gmail accounts, thousands of contacts just got synchronized with my new phone seamlessly in the background. This has proven my bet was right!