Google strikes blow to Microsoft with new browser

Microsoft can now officially feel yet more threatened: Google has released a beta version of Chrome, its new browser. A harbinger of things to be is this text from their "Why?" page:
[...] We also built V8, a more powerful JavaScript engine, to power the next generation of web applications that aren't even possible in today's browsers.

This is just the beginning - Google Chrome is far from done. [...]
Microsoft has two vast revenue streams: Windows, and Office. Google already has web-based competition for Office, but online applications are still severely hampered by the capabilities of today's browsers. For now, this has tilted the playing field in favor of traditional applications that install on the user's machine, providing superior functionality.

But if Google's browser gets widespread adoption, it appears certain to lead the way into support for more advanced browser features which will allow online web applications to become more capable of competing with their desktop counterparts. And at some point in the next few years, you will find yourself at a computer that doesn't have Office installed, you will need to perform a spreadsheet computation, and you will find yourself considering:

Do I (A) go to the store and pay $400 for MS Office? Or do I (B) go to, and wait while I download a huge installer? Or do I (C) just surf to, and use an online spreadsheet that immediately works?

Considering also that, in option (C), your data is stored on the net, can be accessed any time from anywhere, and is automatically backed up?

More and more people will find themselves choosing (C) over the previous two options, until eventually, option (C) will make such obvious sense that Microsoft's Office revenue will drop right through the floor.

That's 50% of Microsoft's revenue being threatened right there. Can the desktop eventually become so unimportant that Microsoft's Windows revenue will also be threatened? Maybe.

Disclaimer: Since me and my company depend on developing SSH software for Windows, it is certainly in my best interest for Windows to remain very healthy for a very long time. That doesn't mean it's going to happen, though.


Tr0n said…

Google already has web-based competition for Office,

Are you serious? Its nothing more than a toy.

Even if in some freak accident Google does manage to make something close to _maybe_ office 98. (Anything more is impossible) Why would anyone switch from the MS office ecosystem? Whats the advantage? Who is going to provide enterprise support? I doubt MS is going to let Google integrate with exchange. Besides, Do you really think corporations/users want Google to spy on their data? I dont think so.

Anyway this is nothing new, its not in the interest of ANY browser to just be standards compliant. Not IE, not Mozilla, Not Opera, Not Chrome. They _ALL_ are looking for some sort of lock-in. Mozilla already has their XUL toolset to do something exactly as you describe. Either way I don't think chrome is going to gain much market share against IE. Mozilla is primarily going to suffer.

Now since Mozilla has already whored out their search bar to Google, they cant really do anything about it. One the contract with Google expires in a few years, they're screwed.

All this is meaningless till Google does something of relevance. To me they are nothing more than an advertising company. I have yet to see any enterprise quality product come from them other than search...

denis bider said…
All of that makes sense in the short term, but this is a game that's going to play out over a decade.

And Microsoft, of course, can counter Google's moves; so the outcome is not predictable.

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