In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Why Google Shouldn't Attack Microsoft
2. Today's Top Story
- Intel Adds Dual-Core Xeons Supported By HP, IBM, And Dell
- Q&A: AMD's Ruiz Sees 'Phenomenal' Future Ahead
3. Breaking News
- Firefox Loses Market Share--Again
- Google Releases Newsreader In Beta
- EBay To Buy VeriSign Online-Payment Service
- Mozilla Launches Final Thunderbird 1.5 Beta
- IBM Drops Patent Fight With SCO
- Dutch Police Crush Big 'Botnet,' Arrest Trio
- Stanford's Stanley Takes Darpa's $2 Million
- Venezuela Government Closes Some U.S. Tech Firms
- Mobile Security Products On Tap
- Yahoo Adds Podcast Search
- Google Plugs Cross-Scripting Security Hole
- RFID Implementation Challenges Persist
- A Tale Of Two Cities
4. In Depth: Microsoft
5. Voice Of Authority: Langa Letter
6. White Papers: Spyware
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote of the day:
"The clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does
not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him." -- Sun Tzu
1. Editor's Note: Why Google Shouldn't Attack Microsoft
It makes no sense for Google to try to compete with Microsoft on
the desktop, and any sign that Google is getting into that
business would be evidence that Google has jumped the shark.
As all good couch potatoes know, "jumping the shark" is what
happens when a good television show goes bad. The name comes from
an episode of the 1970s sitcom Happy Days, where teen idol
Fonzie does a water-ski jump over a tank full of sharks, to
demonstrate how courageous and cool he was. As if that weren't
ridiculous enough, he did it wearing swim trunks and his
trademark leather jacket and T-shirt (because nothing says "cool"
like a guy wearing swim trunks with a leather jacket).
Like TV shows, software companies can jump the shark. It starts
happening when the upstart company attracts cheerleaders that say
the upstart is the company that's going to take Microsoft down.
Microsoft starts believing the hype and begins to target its
massive resources on destroying the upstart. Eventually, the
upstart itself believes the hype--and that's the beginning of the
end. The software company loses focus on its customers and
instead starts focusing on beating Microsoft. Eventually, the
company gets fat and bloated, hemorrhages money, loses market
share and customers and--in the final stage--top management bails
out, often accompanied by the company being acquired. It happened
to Borland, Novell, and, most famously, Netscape.
So now Google is acquiring its "Kill Bill" cheerleaders. As
reported in this week's InformationWeek, Google cut a deal with Sun to offer Java
combined with the Google
Toolbar. Before the announcement, there was widespread
speculation in the blogosphere that Google might be offering
and the two companies fueled that speculation by saying their
deal included joint marketing and development of technologies,
including that office package.
One question for those who think Google will offer an office
package to compete with Microsoft: Why?
Oh, sure, I know why you want it. You hate Microsoft, or
at least you want to see some competition for the big ol'
monopolist. But why would Google want to get involved in peddling
office suites? It's a tough business, requiring companies to
maintain and update large amounts of complex code. Moreover, that
code resides on users' desktops, outside of the vendor's control.
And getting aggressively into the desktop software business
violates one of the secrets to Google's success: The code for its
strategic products resides on servers owned and operated by
Google, where the company can more easily update and maintain it.
Yes, I know Google offers Google Desktop, a search
tool that resides on the user's desktop. But that's the
exception; the company's strategic products reside safe and sound
on its own servers.
If Google gets into the desktop software business in a big way,
it'll be competing with Microsoft at Microsoft's own game.
Microsoft has nearly a 15-year head start on Google in offering
office suites, and Office is the worldwide standard. Yet, even
Microsoft is finding the office business to be a tough one.
Microsoft's Information Worker business unit, which includes
Office, grew revenue only 2% in fiscal 2005, compared with 17%
the year before.
Nonetheless, the rumors about Google becoming a desktop vendor
persist. An article I wrote about the subject in April 2004 still holds
up. In it, I quote blogger Jason Kottke, who says: "Google is
building a huge computer with a custom operating system that
everyone on earth can have an account on." Kottke said more than
2-1/2 years ago: "Google's money won't be made with search.
That's small peanuts compared to selling access to the world's
biggest, best, and most cleverly utilized map of the Web."
Kottke's prediction then jumps the shark when he speculates about
Google selling cheap PCs running Gnome and Linux, tailored to
take advantage of the Google service, running their own office
suite with built-in Internet collaboration, and priced cheap,
Why on Earth would Google want to do that, given that Microsoft,
Apple, and various desktop Linux vendors already are supplying
desktops for Google users and assuming all the R&D and support
costs without costing Google a penny?
If Google is smart--and it does appear to be very smart
indeed--Google will stick to the server-based software model that
it has built its success on. If Google is smart, it will let
Microsoft continue in the increasingly difficult business model
of licensing software that users install and run on their own
machines. Microsoft is having problems on its 30th
birthday; the best thing you can do when your enemy is having
problems is just stand back and watch.
For an example of Google doing what it does best, see Google Reader, its Web-based feed reader
for RSS and Atom feeds. I thought I was addicted to feeds
before, but since the product was introduced Friday, I've
been spending more time than I care to think about just sitting
at my desk, tapping the J on my keyboard (which moves the
Reader's focus from one item to the next), and browsing my
collection of 237 feeds. Behavioral psychologists teach us that
the best way to re-enforce repetitive behavior is to offer
rewards at random intervals, and that's how Google Reader works.
You sit there tapping that J key, and you see interesting
articles (the reward) mixed in with boring ones, to create that
Google needs to stick with innovative, server-based technology
like Google Reader. If it decides to get aggressively in the
desktop software market ... well, can I suggest that Google's own
Froogle service would be
a good place to shop for water skis, swim trunks, and a leather
By the way, for a photo of the Fonz making his death-defying
leap, click here. The Jump the Shark site that started the
catchphrase is here and
makes for hours of time-wasting browsing fun. Wikipedia has an
interesting article on the subject here.
Wikipedia writes that the phrase "is used to describe the moment
when a television show or similar episodic medium is in
retrospect judged to have passed its 'peak' and shows a
noticeable decline in quality, or when it has undergone too
many changes that take away the original charm and interest of
the show" (emphasis added).
Got something to say about this subject? Leave a comment on the blog.
Intel is offering a 2.8-GHz dual-core Xeon processor now and
plans to introduce a 3-GHz dual-core Xeon processor within 60 days.
Related Stories: Q&A: AMD's Ruiz Sees 'Phenomenal' Future Ahead
Hector Ruiz, AMD's chairman, chief executive, and president,
talks to InformationWeek about the company's future, its lawsuit
against Intel, and a new wafer plant in Germany.
IBM Drops Patent Fight With SCO
Dropping four patent-infringement claims could speed up IBM's
countersuit against SCO by limiting the amount of information SCO
can obtain through legal discovery.
Dutch Police Crush Big 'Botnet,' Arrest Trio
A huge network of 100,000 PCs was used to conduct a
denial-of-service attack against an unidentified U.S. company in
an extortion attempt, as well as for many other nefarious deeds,
according to Dutch police.
Mobile Security Products On Tap
Among other new wares expected at a conference in Chicago this
week is the PGP Support Package for BlackBerry, a jointly
developed product that allows for automatic encryption and
decryption of E-mail on BlackBerry handsets.
A Week's Worth Of Dailies--All In One Place
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Kahuna will be the new user interface for Hotmail, with a look,
Microsoft has promised, that more closely resembles Outlook. The
beta has now expanded to the public.
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InformationWeek sister publication Network Computing surveyed
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get a closer look. Data from that survey is featured on this page.
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target for advertising. As a result, spyware, or adware, has
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