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Gates on Google 755

Posted by samzenpus
from the the-big-g's dept.
EnsignExtra writes " A long and interesting article in Fortune on the battle between Gates and Google. 'Forced to watch Google's stock soar the way Microsoft's used to, and Brin and Page enjoy their roles as tech's new rock stars, Gates brings to the fight a ferocity that nobody has seen since the Netscape war a decade ago. Their popularity gets under his skin. "There's companies that are just so cool that you just can't even deal with it," he says sarcastically, suggesting that Google is nothing more than the latest fad, adding, "At least they know to wear black."...Trying to build a Google killer, however, has turned out to be truly humbling for Microsoft.'"
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Gates on Google

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:09AM (#12440070)
    [Microsoft] has spent about $150 million on its search project, code-named Underdog.
    Oh the irony, a one-hundred-fifty million dollar Microsoft project named "Underdog." "Don't be Evil" vs. "It Just Works," the battle rages on...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:11AM (#12440084)
      If Gates used Linux he could just "killall -9 Google"
      • by daeley (126313) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @12:00PM (#12442060) Homepage
        --DOINK!--

        It looks like you're trying to destroy another company! Would you like to:

        a) Buy it and assimilate it into your company, then claim to the media that this constitutes "innovation."

        b) Buy it and lock the employees into their buildings to starve to death once the vending machines give out.

        c) Buy it and send Ballmer over to annoy the hell out of them.

        d) Buy a country and send its armed forces to wipe all assets of the company from the face of the Earth.
    • by dpilot (134227) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:45AM (#12440325) Homepage Journal
      When criminals in this world appear
      and break the laws that they should fear
      and frighten all who see or hear
      the cry goes up both far and near
      for Underdog! Underdog! Underdog! Underdog!

      Credits to: http://www.delorie.com/users/dj/tidbits/underdog_l yrics.html [delorie.com] (#2 hit on Google "underdog theme song" search, #1 had a .wav link. Add "lyrics" as a search term and that link is still #2, and #1 is: http://www.wickedcoolnews.com/underdoglyrics.html [wickedcoolnews.com] which also has the lyrics.)
    • Its ambitious new operating system, code-named Longhorn, is more than a year late, even after having been scaled back. Linux, the free operating system that Gates once scoffed at, is fighting Microsoft for share in both the server and desktop markets, forcing the company to do the unthinkable: offer customer discounts. Last year it had to spend $1 billion to rewrite thousands of lines of code to make its programs less susceptible to viruses. Its Xbox gaming console is winning raves from players but has yet

      • Not sure (Score:4, Insightful)

        by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:02AM (#12440447) Homepage Journal
        I'm smiling, but not sure I buy all of the assertions in TFA:
        Simply put, Google has become a new kind of foe, and that's what has Gates so riled. It has combined software innovation with a brand-new Internet business model--and it wounds Gates' pride that he didn't get there first.
        Microsoft, once it owned the bulk of the market, has been a second-mover.
        Gates aims for the fat cash hump in the middle of the market distribution.
        The real question is, will Google turn this second-mover strategy into a giant suppository?
        Microsofties have always been voracious samplers of competitors' products; many used the Netscape browser for years until Microsoft's Internet Explorer was good enough.
        Yep. The Google-branded Apple MacIntosh, coming soon to a nightmare near you...
        • .NET (Score:4, Informative)

          by mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:28AM (#12440618)

          Microsoft, once it owned the bulk of the market, has been a second-mover.

          I don't know whether you do any business programming, but the momentum behind C# and .NET is just massive. There are on the order of terabytes and terabytes of code that have been [or are being] written for that platform.

          Now you could say that Sun was the "first mover" with Java, and M$FT was the "second mover" with .NET, but my point is that just because M$FT has been working quietly behind the scenes on something like .NET doesn't mean they aren't innovating. It's just that they're innovating [and grabbing market share] in an arena that isn't quite as sexy as Google, iTunes, or Playstation.

          • Re:.NET (Score:5, Informative)

            by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:56AM (#12440873) Homepage Journal
            Now you could say that Sun was the "first mover" with Java, and M$FT was the "second mover" with .NET, but my point is that just because M$FT has been working quietly behind the scenes on something like .NET doesn't mean they aren't innovating.
            That is exactly my point. .Net is far more evolutionary than revolutionary. Not to say that Anders Hjelsberg isn't 16 times the hacker I'll ever be.
            Sure, the .Net momentum is massive, and the C# codebase will only grow faster if Mono ever gains traction in the FOSS world.
            TFA article touched on the browser war from the standpoint of MS crushing Netscape on price.
            Where there article didn't seem to go was into the anxiety in Redmond when they realized that the browser could diminish the importance of the desktop OS in a major way, which is where I was going with the point about Google partnering with Apple (admittedly unlikely, given the personalities in question) or Google rolling a killer Linux distribution (feel the waves of fear emanating from the NorthWest...)
          • Re:.NET (Score:5, Insightful)

            by RoLi (141856) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @11:25AM (#12441648)
            I don't know whether you do any business programming, but the momentum behind C# and .NET is just massive. There are on the order of terabytes and terabytes of code that have been [or are being] written for that platform.

            So Microsoft keeps telling me.

            But where is all that stuff?

            What important software is written in C#?

            Windows? Linux? MS Office? Apache? Autocad? Photoshop? ... Nope, no C# in sight.

            So where is it? All I've heard so far is a few ASP.NET websites and a few demos like calculators, etc. Nothing really impressive and nothing really important.

            So what are you talking about?

        • Re:Not sure (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Winkhorst (743546) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @12:01PM (#12442069)
          "Simply put, Google has become a new kind of foe, and that's what has Gates so riled. It has combined software innovation with a brand-new Internet business model--and it wounds Gates' pride that he didn't get there first."

          New? Wasn't this the reason M$ took defeating Netscape so seriously after they had ignored the internet for years? They finally figured out that browsers could make operating systems obsolete. Now the same threat appears from a just slightly different angle and M$ passes a brick again. But this time, giving it away free doesn't help.
      • by mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:23AM (#12440591)

        I the only one smiling from ear to ear?

        I'd be willing to wager that Microsoft's customers are pretty darned happy - everytime M$FT gets angry at the competition, their customers are rewarded with a vast new generation of ably-crafted products [often given away for free].

      • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:31AM (#12440648) Journal
        And as Microsoft is getting attacked on all fronts, am I the only one smiling from ear to ear?

        Or, put another way, Microsoft is competing on all fronts. You can bet your bottom dollar that's the way Bill Gates sees it and that he likes it that way too.

        Lest we forget, Microsoft is still making money hand over fist, and its profits continue to rise. It might have missed its last profits forecast by some fraction of a percentage point but the Microsoft vs Everyone Else battle is still pretty firmly tipped in its favour.

        The company is a behemoth. Apple isn't really a threat in the short or medium term because so many computer users (especially large corporates) are tied into x86-compatible architectures. iPods might and switching might help Apple erode some of the home market, but the business market isn't going to jump onto that bandwagon so easily. Besides, we all know that Microsoft will do whatever it takes to get the deal done when faced with the possibility of losing serious business to a competitor.

        Firefox isn't really much more than an annoyance, because it will never have the marketing muscle to compete with MSIE - the reason why MSIE destroyed Netscape's dominance wasn't its superiority, it was because MSIE was just there, an easy mouse click away on every new Windows 95 PC, whereas Navigator wasn't, and needed to be installed from scratch.

        Xbox might not have made any money but I doubt that Microsoft was expecting to get into the console gaming market and have made a profit by now. It's not in it for the short-term, it wants to be a long-term player, and the console gaming market, just like most things, is one in which you have to speculate to accumalate. The market was Nintendo/Sega, then Sony/Nintendo/Sega, now it's Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft (or maybe Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo): who's to say in five years time that it won't be Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo?

        Never write off or underestimate what lies in Redmond. Too many companies have made that mistake - even mighty IBM - and learnt not to do it the hard way.
        • by jwinter1 (147688) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:05AM (#12440941) Homepage
          [T]he reason why MSIE destroyed Netscape's dominance wasn't its superiority, it was because MSIE was just there, an easy mouse click away on every new Windows 95 PC, whereas Navigator wasn't, and needed to be installed from scratch.
          Not really. The fact that IE was right on the desktop was certainly part of its success, but IE 5 was substantially better than Netscape 4. Believe me, I was a stalwart Netscape user until a coworker showed me how much faster IE was rendering pages. Netscape then threw out their codebase to build Gecko and couldn't get anything decent out the door for way too long. They also lost jwz along the way, which I'm sure didn't help matters.
        • by Crayon Kid (700279) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @11:09AM (#12441510)

          Firefox isn't really much more than an annoyance, because it will never have the marketing muscle to compete with MSIE - the reason why MSIE destroyed Netscape's dominance wasn't its superiority, it was because MSIE was just there, an easy mouse click away on every new Windows 95 PC, whereas Navigator wasn't, and needed to be installed from scratch.

          Ah, but things change(TM), that's one of the points the article made too. Firefox isn't Netscape and nowadays the issue is quite another: what's the use of having IE a mouseclick away if running it makes you feel like bending over to pick up the soap in a prison shower? Features and security, not easy availability, that's the current browser tune.

        • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @11:29AM (#12441697) Homepage Journal
          Never write off or underestimate what lies in Redmond.

          That saying should be tatooed in reverse on the forehead of every CEO of every company that competes against Microsoft, so that every morning they look in the mirror and see that message in bold black ink.

          The aggressiveness and will to succeed that you find in the CEOs of so many technology companies tends to go hand in hand with the sort of hubris that becomes an iron anchor. They succeed temporarily against Microsoft, get happy about it and crow to whomever will listen, and a few years later they get solidly trounced by the Beast of Redmond.

          It has been proven over and over again that Microsoft succeeds against opponents who become complacent. Those that don't (Intuit is a good example) can fend off Microsoft's attacks. But I'm seeing signs that Google is already getting too full of themselves. If they're not paranoid of Microsoft, they're screwed.

    • "Here Microsoft was spending $600 million a year in R&D for MSN, $1 billion a year for Office, and $1 billion a year for Windows, and Google gets desktop search out before us? It was a real wake-up call," says an exec. "It was the first time many people in the corporation understood that Google was <b>more than just a search engine.</b> People said, 'If they can do desktop search, what prevents them from doing a version of Excel, PowerPoint, or Word, or buying Star Office [from Sun Microsy

      • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:24AM (#12441097) Homepage Journal
        " Jumping from desktop search to Excel is a pretty good stretch of the imagination. I'm not really sure if that's the way the MSFT exec meant it."

        I think that is exactly what the mean. I think it shows more what Microsoft is planing than what Google is. Microsoft is seeing that Netscape was right after all. Windows is rapidly getting to the point of not mattering all that much. Many companies have moved from running on Windows to using the browser as the UI for applications. Gmail and Google maps have shown that Google are the masters of web based interfaces. Let's look at Two of Microsoft biggest projects. XBox360 and .Net Notice anything? The both break the link between Microsoft and the X86. I would bet that Microsoft vision of the future is Microsoft XBox like systems tied to MSN using Network enabled applications to store files on Microsoft servers. Not to mention watching movies served from those servers and listening to music bought from those servers. There will come an end to must have upgrades to Windows. Computers are very close to doing what ever you want them to now. Microsoft can not expect a constant stream of new Windows and Office users. That is one reason they went into Games. People will always want a new game. With the end of the constant upgrade cycle the only way that they can keep the money flowing in is going to a computing as a services model.
        Why the break from Intel with .net and the XBox360? Someday the x86 will run out of steam. It has already been hacked and extended to death. Microsoft has not had any luck using other ISAs until WindowsCE started to get some traction. They do not want the end of the X86 to be the end of Microsoft.

        Often what people fear is what they themselves are planing.
  • by baadger (764884) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:10AM (#12440074)
    Google vs [googlefight.com]
    Microsoft ..the fight concluded.
  • GOffice? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DoubleDangerClub (855480) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:11AM (#12440078) Homepage
    The interesting thing is that supposedly Google is interested in the power of OpenOffice. This could maybe lead to online creation of office documents, emailing them through GMail, and storing them in Google webspace. It starts to kill the use of Windows apps.

    Next, they'll come out with a GBrowser and add extra functionality for their new line of star studded packages in your Google account if you use their browser. Maybe that's why they've taken a bunch of Firefox developers...but who knows?
    • Re:GOffice? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:33AM (#12440231)
      Does anyone else remember the days when Slashdot ranted daily against the privacy-violating evil of Doubleclick cookies?

      Well, what google is doing is DoubleClick *10^100, and everyone's hunkydory with it because they *might* help runner-ups like OpenOffice or Firefox become more popular by morphing them into data collection mechanisms. (Which itself is an ironic business model for "free as in freedom software".)

      Anyway, don't kid yourselves. Google is really an advertisement vendor -- their customers are increasingly ad agencies and big corporations. They want this data to build consumer profiles on you (and probably governmental profiles too), which they will sell in one form or another.
      • Re:GOffice? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by nysus (162232) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:50AM (#12440364)
        Mod up the AC. Google is collecting many data dots about you. It would not take much for them to connect them to create an accurate picture of your hobbies, interests, and buying habits. This is every marketer's dream. Corporations will buy this data and purchase very precise profiles of each of us, enabling them to efficiently shake even more money from our wallets using all sorts of psychological enticements that will be very hard to defend against.
        • Re:GOffice? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by garcia (6573) * on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:11AM (#12440513) Homepage
          It sure is but doubleclick was doing something that was basically hidden from view. Most people didn't know about firewalls, their hosts file, cookies, cookie blocking, etc. Doubleclick was silently aggregating your habbits on the web behind the scenes.

          Google, while what they are doing is becoming increasingly scary, is at least up front about it... "Our programs scan your emails and display ads related."

          You don't have to use Google. You could be screwed and use something worse (MSN, AskJeeves, whatever) or you can suffer w/Yahoo, whatever newbie comes into the market...

          You don't have to use GMail, GOffice, or any of the other various pieces of software they do/will offer.

          Personally, I use them for now. As they become scarier and possibly grab a greater hold over us and start hiding their privacy violations I might change my mind. Until then just pay attention.
          • Re:GOffice? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Ubergrendle (531719) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:47AM (#12440783) Journal
            The difference I see between Doubleclick and Google is their attitude towards my personal data. Doubleclick surepticiously tracks my behaviour in the background, their client is the website and their customer is advertisers. I have no oppportunity to 'buy in' or have any ability to affect the transaction, aside from a) avoiding sites that use doubleclick (and how do I figure that out before visiting a link??) and b) turning off coookies, which breaks most of my browsing experience.

            Google on the other hand values my personal information. Their customers are still advertisers, but they are partnering with me and offer me value in exchange for my personal information. The offer me free services that are industry best, for the opportunity to present me advertisements. Its a win-win so long as I want to play. And since google's whole strategy is about advertising through services, there's a decent hedge against their abuse of this trust -- people stop trusting google, they lose eyeballs and thus their business strategy fails.

            Also, to my knowledge, advertisements are presented at the time of information retreival...there is no master datawarehouse trying to compile the master "Ubergrendle" user profile where they can create a psychological model of my buying patterns. I'm very comfortable with a rules-engine providing me with contextually useful advertisements...its actually user friendly.

            This is where Microsoft has their biggest problem -- after years of abusing EULAs, even if MS provided the EXACT SAME SERVICES and comparable technology as Google, most users wouldn't trust them based on their a) other interests, and b) previous behaviour.
        • Re:GOffice? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by stlhawkeye (868951) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:52AM (#12441321) Homepage Journal
          Mod up the AC. Google is collecting many data dots about you. It would not take much for them to connect them to create an accurate picture of your hobbies, interests, and buying habits. This is every marketer's dream. Corporations will buy this data and purchase very precise profiles of each of us, enabling them to efficiently shake even more money from our wallets using all sorts of psychological enticements that will be very hard to defend against.

          I've always said this...

          I don't mind commercials if it's for something I might actually buy.

          I don't mind junk mail for products I might actually want.

          I don't even mind telemarketers selling me something that I'm interested in.

          I don't mind advertising when it's for stuff I'm interested in or curious about.

          What I mind is having to sit through ads for "Desperate Housewives" and other pop/crap culture TV shows. What I mind is "American Idol" conspiracy theories on respectable news reporting web sites. What I mind is being hassled at dinner time to switch my long distance carrier. What I mind is getting junk mail for any Chevy product.

          Yet, I get Dell's monthly/quarterly mini-mag all the time and I never fail to flip through it and review prices.

          When I want to buy something on-line, I often hit www.google.com and type the item in and then click on the ads to check prices and on-line vendors.

          Advertising isn't evil. It's just annoying when it's for stuff that you don't want. I wouldn't even mind spam if the spam I got was, first of all, not fully of elementary school grammar and spelling errors, and second of all, not insulting my intelligence. If I got spam for stuff I might actually buy, I'd object to it less.

          So, if Google can find a way to target advertising at me for products that I am actually interested in, then more power to them.

          Why do you think word-of-mouth is the best advertising?

          1. Your friends tend to like the same stuff you do
          2. Your friends and family know you and know what you will and won't like and tend to recommend things that you'll like
          3. Somebody else took the plunge and was satisfied, thus allowing somebody whose opinion you probably respect to personally recommend a product/service

          You get the point. Word of mouth is highly directed personal advertising. If Google can reproduce that to some degree programmatically, I don't mind.

          From a privacy perspective, I object to this data being collected without my knowledge, but that's not what they're doing. I _KNOW_ exactly what they can do with my information, and I continue to let them do it.

          • Re:GOffice? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by DarthTaco (687646) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @11:56AM (#12442007)
            "Somebody else took the plunge and was satisfied, thus allowing somebody whose opinion you probably respect to personally recommend a product/service"

            That's the one I was thinking of. We don't trust a company that is telling us how great their product is because that is a conflict of interest. A friend isn't trying to get our money when they tell us how great product X is. Although there is the occasional person who is trying to justify buying something they regret by telling you how great it is.
      • Re:GOffice? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ajs (35943) <ajs&ajs,com> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:27AM (#12440609) Homepage Journal
        "Well, what google is doing is DoubleClick *10^100"

        Wow, I was wondering why my browser was so slow! With that many cookies, I guess I must just be running low on RAM ;-)

        "Does anyone else remember the days when Slashdot ranted daily"

        Yep... I think that was... ah, let me check my watch...

        The "Some people on Slashdot ranted about X, thus X has been proved to be useful only for the forces of darkest evil" line of logic isn't really all that sound, you realize.

        "everyone's hunkydory with it because they *might* help runner-ups like OpenOffice or Firefox become more popular by morphing them into data collection mechanisms"

        No, I'm OK with what Google does because they have a track record of doing the right thing. They support open source projects, they have never disclosed my personal information, they write damned good code, their services continue to benefit the state of the art and my life is a bit more productive because of them.

        "Anyway, don't kid yourselves. Google is really an advertisement vendor"

        OK.... and? Did you think no one had noticed what their revenue model was?!

        "They want this data to build consumer profiles on you"

        Targetted advertising is not a problem except in that it's a type of advertising. If you have a problem with ads, targetted ads should be no more objectionable, and at least in my case, they're slightly LESS objectionable.

        If Google were to start selling that database to anyone with cash, then I'd be pretty irrate. Google has demonstrated, though, that they are committed to a more reasonable course of action. A lot of people get upset because Google put "Don't be evil," in their S-1, but keep in mind that the standard retort to "they are doing good so far," is that they have an obligation to stockholders and will HAVE to do anything they can to meet that obligation. That's not quite true. For example, if McDonalds got involved in the diamond trade, they might make more money, but they don't HAVE to try to do that because it's not in their business plan, and thus not in their SEC filings.

        Google's anti-evil statement in their S-1 is a fair warning to investors (and they go into detail on this in their S-1) that they operate at a disadvantage by applying ethics. This shields them from the obligation to do "whatever it takes" to increase shareholder value. They still have to work on the stockholders' behalf, but only within those parameters.

        "and probably governmental profiles too"

        Oooh, "governmental"! Sounds spooky. Of course, even you aren't sure what you mean by that, and it's certainly a wild guess.
      • Re:GOffice? (Score:4, Funny)

        by Speare (84249) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:55AM (#12440859) Homepage Journal
        Well, what google is doing is DoubleClick * 10^100, and everyone's hunkydory with it.

        Hm, let's see.

        googol
        n : a cardinal number represented as 1 followed by 100 zeros (ten raised to the power of a hundred)

        I guess they're finally starting to make apparent their business model.

    • Re:GOffice? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by vidarlo (134906) <vidarlo@bBALDWINitsex.net minus author> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:38AM (#12440267) Homepage
      The interesting thing is that supposedly Google is interested in the power of OpenOffice. This could maybe lead to online creation of office documents, emailing them through GMail, and storing them in Google webspace. It starts to kill the use of Windows apps.

      I guess this might be reallity in a few years. The challenge for google would be to switch the corporate marked, not the private market. But microsoft get most money from the corporate market in the office-land. So, if every single person switched to openoffice, while corporates stuck with office, it'd be relatively harmless to microsoft. But imagine if google comes with Glinux! That'd be very interesting, and as connections is getting faster, they might even run it as thin terminals. Google has the infrastructure for running a few million thin clients...

    • Re:GOffice? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ubergrendle (531719) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:40AM (#12440280) Journal
      Google O/S (linux/bsd), running Google Office (OpenOffice), with free integration with webservices (Google Maps, Google Groups, Google Mail, Picasa) that have unlimited usage/storage.

      Gates has always insisted that his company could cease to be viable in a span of as little as 5 years, given the IBM PC experience (but at least IBM even in the 1980s was much more diversified). With a 3-5 year refresh cycle for desktop PCs this makes Microsoft even more vulnerable than IBM was.

      If Google has the 'cool' factor and all of the sudden people start demanding Google desktops like they're demanding iPods, I can see a sudden shift. Unlikely, but possible.
      • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @11:02AM (#12441441)
        Google O/S (linux/bsd), running Google Office (OpenOffice), with free integration with webservices (Google Maps, Google Groups, Google Mail, Picasa) that have unlimited usage/storage.

        Yep. And the funny thing is that Google has a real chance to do what MS has been trying to ram down people's throats for years - namely, "sell" web-based applications. Difference is google would rather just put inobtrusive ads on your workspace, while MS wants you to subscribe. Easier and cheaper always win.

        The other thing is the potential to integrate all your communication and work tools. Imagine better collaboration, documentation, and email sofware seamlessly integrated. Guarantee you Google's already working on it. How MS has avoided making Outlook better I have no idea. Guess it's that whole monopoly thing, they don't have to.

        The question is how and when they roll out GMail. It has to be close - I use it all the time and love it. I imagine they're still refining the business model? When the public at large starts using that and realizes that it beats the crap out of everything else, and starts having their mail forwarded to their gmail accounts because it's better...google wins.

        I this way, Google can jump OSS as the biggest threat to MS. Imagine people running all their apps as java apps (or similar) served by google. It's hardware-agnostic. It's OS-agnostic. Watch MS try making a TCO argument there:

        MS: OK, how much is the GOffice software?

        Google: It's free from google.

        MS: OK, I remember this crap from the linux days. It's impossible to maintain, right?

        Google: No, google maintains it. You don't even install it. You just run it.

        MS: So how much does *that* cost?

        Google: That's free too.

        MS: So when do you pay?

        Google: You don't. Advertisers do.

        MS: Uh oh...

        This has the potential to do in a *non-evil* way everything MS tried to do between the combined nebulous efforts of Passport and the failed part of its .Net initiative. And people will love it.

    • Re:GOffice? (Score:3, Informative)

      Well IMHO, thats completely wrong - they are only interested in peddling their content. Nothing more.

      I wonder why people cant see this ; developing and supporting major applications like wordprocessors and browsers are a total money drain. And that field is a mature field- there is not much innovation to be done there.

      The innovation will be in the value additions. If you have MS Office 2k3, try doing an Alt+Click. A neat little Research pane pops up, within which you can do web searches, encarta lookups e
  • Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tnhtnh (870708) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:11AM (#12440083)
    Of course Bill (and Microsoft) are going to hate Google; they are after all competitors in the search industry. What, do you really except them to sit down and play a game of checkers?
    • Re:Obvious (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yes, but just because they are competitors doesn't mean that Gates has to be a bitch, because it just makes him look cheap and petty (note that this standard applies to Google as well...I'm not just trying to bag on MS). Attack their products, not the people who make them, and when you do attack their products you should be able to back it up.

      ie. Disparaging Google as using "antiquated" word searches when you can't even do that much yourself is disingenuous.
  • by Gabrill (556503) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:11AM (#12440085)
    Well, if Microsoft hadn't built up an AOL-like overdone presence with their MSN web portal, maybe people wouldn't be sick of M$. I go to Google for the refreshing simple-ness.
  • by notany (528696) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:12AM (#12440088) Journal
    "There's companies that are just so cool that you just can't even deal with it," - Bill Gates, about Google
  • Innovate, not copy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon (813062) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:14AM (#12440100)
    If Microsoft would innovate, instead of copy, then Gates would not have to be envious of Google's success and coolness.
    • by baadger (764884) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:20AM (#12440141)
      Direct quote from the article.

      "I remember when [Payne's team] showed off their first prototype in early 2004people laughed because it was so much like Google," says a former Microsoft executive. "We had copied them. That's not how you lead."


      They even admit copying the top dogs.
    • by bani (467531) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:25AM (#12440175)
      since when has microsoft innovated, ever ?

      microsoft is good at only one thing - copying. innovating is a completely alien concept to them.

      if they can't copy something, they assimilate it. the borg analogy works very well.
      • What about Bob?
      • by Jon Peterson (1443) <jon@snPASCALowdrift.org minus language> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:19AM (#12440568) Homepage
        Microsoft innovate all the time. Just not particularly in writing software programs. But then not many companies do - the history of software is the history of incremental improvements - no one innovates that much. Google is merely grep version 9082.1 , and even the clever bits of Google were done 'first' in research instituations around the world.

        MS's only big software innovation has been integration. They realised that people don't want programs. They want a computer. One thing that does everything in a consistent joined up manner. That _WAS_ innovation. Everyone else at the time still thought it was a _good_ thing to have lots of little programs each with it's own purpose, UI, etc tailored to a specific job.

        MS realised that this was crap, and to the annoyance of software people everywhere, MS was right. Most people want to buy a word processor and a spreedsheet from different companise in the same way they want to buy their hob and their oven from different companies. Not at all.

        I would also say that ASP pages were innovative - not so much the idea of templates, but the idea of creating a proper web SDK, with a cohesive set of classes. It's not rocket science, but no-one else had thought of offering a complete solution to what was _still_ being viewed as a set of separate problems - a web server, a programming language, a database API, etc. etc.

        However, where MS is _really_ innovative is in marketing. They have found ways to promote and market software that no-one else has ever thought of. Now, those ways may not be 'nice' but they are certainly innovative.
        • ...even the clever bits of Google were done 'first' in research instituations around the world.

          Y'mean like that research into search technology that was done at Stanford in the late 90s.
    • > If Microsoft would innovate, instead of copy
      • DOS -- CP/M
      • Windows 3.1 -- Apple
      • Windows NT -- OS/2
      • IE -- Netscape
      • MS Word -- WordPerfect
      • WinFS -- BeFS (and Cairo OFS)
      • .NET/C# -- Java

      And Longhorn will have the kitchen sink .. it promises to deliver everything Cairo [networkworld.com] promised to deliver in '96.

    • by NovaX (37364)
      Quick definition, since many of your replies are that Microsoft doesn't innovate.

      As defined by Eric von Hippel (MIT), innovation is commercializing a new change. It can be incremental and very small. Inventions, on the other hand, are unique and can be hidden away in your basement.

      What Microsoft needs is a major breakthrough (invention), because Google has proven itself to be just as good at integrating services and incremental innovation. Microsoft can't use its famed tactic of integrating and incrementa
  • Revenue streams (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bpuli (654182) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:19AM (#12440130) Homepage
    Microsoft has multiple revenue streams. Google, at this point, has only one.I think MS is doing the right thing by trying to attack Google before they come close to any of their core product lines. While it may seem that Google is encroaching on MS territory, it is far from true.

    I hope Google expands into areas that generate revenue while competing directly against MS - that will put pressure on MS and hopefully bring down cost and maybe even improve quality.

  • by Transcendent (204992) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:20AM (#12440135)
    The only reason MS has interest in Google's success is because of $$$$.

    There is no "market share" or distributed software that comes from people searching through your website... the only problem is that since people are going to Google, MS is loosing money in advertising.

    It's not even about software, it's about ad revenues.
  • Tidbits (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cOdEgUru (181536) * <(moc.liamg) (ta) (maharba.nairehc)> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:20AM (#12440139) Homepage Journal
    Confidence ran high. A senior Microsoft executive said the top brass thought the fight against Google "was going to be Netscape all over again."

    *Chuckle*

    "I remember when [Payne's team] showed off their first prototype in early 2004--people laughed because it was so much like Google," says a former Microsoft executive. "We had copied them. That's not how you lead."

    Hmm..isnt that how they led with XP, copying Aqua?

    One reason Google has been rolling out so many new or improved products is that Schmidt understands that innovation is the only sure edge Google has. The moment Google allows itself to slow, Microsoft could overwhelm it.

    This is the reason why Odds are stacked so high up against companies such as Google or Apple. All their success depends on their ability to innovate constantly and continuously, that any letup will cost them both users and provide enough leverage for competitors to one_up them.

    "Microsoft can play its old game to compete with Linux and Apple. It has to play Google's game to compete with Google."

    And that sums it all. Google has proven to Microsoft that they cant compete on the same level. Microsoft has bureaucratic issues that needs to be resolved in terms of its size and the products it push through, and in their direction. Google has its own such as growing pains, the push to constantly innovate and the drive to outlast a cash cow ten times bigger.
    • by dpilot (134227) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:54AM (#12440396) Homepage Journal
      >"Microsoft can play its old game to compete with Linux and Apple. It has to play Google's game to compete with Google."

      How many fronts can Microsoft take on, at once? They're used to competing in "steamroller mode" where they mobilize the company against a smaller (or larger but less focused, like IBM) competitor, and run them over. But now Linux and Google are recognized as major threats, Firefox and Apple are chipping away at market share, and OpenOffice is sitting in the wings, especially considering IBM's embedding it, and other such efforts. They can't mobilize the company against any one of these things without taking the finger off of the others.

      If I were Microsoft, I'd have a small focus group figuring out how the company can survive and thrive as "just another highly successful company" rather than as "The Industry Dominator," because it just doesn't look to me as if they're going to be able to keep that position in the long run.
  • different league (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tnhtnh (870708) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:23AM (#12440154)
    Rasmus (PHP) pointed out at linux.conf.au that while google does some really great things, they are a child compared to yahoo or MS. Yahoo has some 50 subsites that must support same sign on in seconds etc and millions of users worldwhite. "Talk to me when google has some 50 million email users and we'll see how well they do it" - Rasmus
  • by wahgnube (557787) <slashtrash@wahgnube.org> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:23AM (#12440159) Homepage Journal
    From the article: "Indeed, four years have passed since Microsoft released a piece of software that generated the kind of buzz Google seems to generate every month."

    No small thanks to our very own googledotdotorg :).

  • typical Microsoft (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cahiha (873942) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:24AM (#12440162)
    This isn't really anything new. Gates embodies a blend of arrogance, ignorance, and intelligence fairly common in the tech community (and really no different from Jobs or McNealy): he thinks he can do everything better, he doesn't know or care what other people have done as long as they aren't on his radar screen as competitors, and he is smart enough to pull it off some time.

    Of course, a great deal of luck and a huge war chest is also part of it: Microsoft got away with that sort of behavior for about a decade because they set the standards and because they could pump money into failing projects for as long as it took. It didn't matter whether Windows reinvented the wheel, because Microsoft made all the cars and because Microsoft could outspend everybody else until they got it right.

    Will it work again? Perhaps, perhaps not. Microsoft can try to push their search product to market late in the game, with enormous effort and an enormous investment. But that alone isn't enough to unseat Google; they would have to leverage their Windows near-monopoly, but in a way that doesn't attract the attention of regulatory agencies around the world. Good luck.
    • by bani (467531) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:38AM (#12440263)
      If there is anything unique about gates, it's his obsessive desire to possess and dominate everything. Jobs and McNealy are content to do a few things well. But gates won't be content until he rules it all. Everything. The whole world.

      Its quite funny to see linux, ipod, google, etc drive bill into fits of rage.
  • by MullerMn (526350) * <andy@NoSpAm.andrewarbon.co.uk> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:28AM (#12440193) Homepage
    Gates says that when Microsoft is done integrating search into future versions of Windows and Office, the world will look back at the way we are now "Googling" for stuff on the Internet and laugh. "The idea that you type in these words [in the search box] that aren't sentences and you don't get any answers--you just get back all these things you have to click on--that is so antiquated," he says, later adding, "We need to take search way beyond how people think of it today and just have it be naturally available, based on the task they want to do." For example, if you wanted to look up a factoid while you were writing a document, you might search for it without ever leaving Word.

    It seems to me that the high-ups at MS are completely out of touch with the real world nowadays. This quote from Gates is just like all their recent releases comparing Longhorn to Tiger.. their perception of what MS's products offer is way inflated from what they actually do, and they seem to be persuading themselves that empty promises of what a future product will do is somehow better than a product which is available here and now, today.

    Is there anyone outside of MS that thinks they have the slightest chance of beating Google at the search technology game? Google are far closer to natual language searching than any of MS's efforts, and comparing past trends of how MS promises stack up against reality, I think we can all be sure that by the time MS gets anywhere close to what they're promising here, the competition are going to be offering searching by telepathy from within Duke Nukem Forever.
    • by j_snare (220372) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:50AM (#12440808)
      This quote from Gates is just like all their recent releases comparing Longhorn to Tiger.. their perception of what MS's products offer is way inflated from what they actually do, and they seem to be persuading themselves that empty promises of what a future product will do is somehow better than a product which is available here and now, today.

      That really seems to be one of the keys to not only the folks at Microsoft, but a lot of the die-hard fans too.

      For instance, one of the developers here is a die-hard Microsoft fan, and he loves Visual Basic. But the frightening thing I've found is that whenever he talks about it, he always talks about "the next version." We should go ahead and use more of it in our production systems because of what they're going to put into it "soon." Nevermind that all the features he's pushing already exist in other languages, ones that we already know and use. He also talks about other apps that Microsoft has made. Unfortunately, they are all either in Alpha or Beta, or are planned to come out soon.

      Fortunately, the head of development is a sharp guy, and a programmer himself. We'll stick with features we know and can test right now, thanks.
  • by putko (753330) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:30AM (#12440205) Homepage Journal
    Did you notice that Google appeared on Gates's radar screen when he read their job ads, and saw they were looking for the same sorts of folks as him? That told him they were looking to compete.

    I first saw Paul Graham mention this -- he would read the job ads of his competitors. If he saw C++, Oracle, etc. then he knew the people didn't matter (and wouldn't matter).

    If he saw Perl, Python, etc. he took notice. [He never saw Common Lisp, of course]

    Graham's said that no matter what Mar-Com (marketing communications) bozos have to say, the job ads tell the real story.
  • by vegaspctech (769513) <vegaspctech@yahoo.com> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:42AM (#12440302) Homepage Journal

    You can use Google software with any Internet browser to search the web and your desktop for just about anything; send and store up to two gigabytes of e-mail via Gmail (Hotmail, Microsoft's rival free e-mail service, offers 250 megabytes, a fraction of that); manage, edit, and send digital photographs using Google's Picasa software, easily the best PC photo software out there; and, through Google's Blogger, create, post online, and print formatted documents--all without applications from Microsoft.

    Emphasis mine. Nice notion, but rather inaccurate. Google Toolbar is for Internet Explorer only. Google Desktop Search is available only for Windows XP and Windows 2000. Picasa Photo Organizer requires Internet Explorer and Windows XP or Windows 2000. Same for Google Deskbar and GMail Notifier. You can use Google's sites without applications from Microsoft, but you sure can't use any of their downloadable software without a good dose of fairly recent Microsoft product.

  • by lake2112 (748837) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:44AM (#12440314)
    It's quite scary to think about the complete reliance that many people place on two companies: Microsoft and Google. The allure of Google is now gone, as they have shown their allegiance to the almighty dollar. I feel like this is the beginning of Independence Day. Google is placing their ships over all strategic points (Search, Webmail, Browsers, Maps, etc.) There is some secret countdown and once all the pieces are in place BAM! We will face a corporate wrath the likes of which we have never seen.
  • by s.d. (33767) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:45AM (#12440328)

    I think that this section says a lot:

    But Microsoft isn't exactly in fighting trim. Its ambitious new operating system, code-named Longhorn, is more than a year late, even after having been scaled back. Linux, the free operating system that Gates once scoffed at, is fighting Microsoft for share in both the server and desktop markets, forcing the company to do the unthinkable: offer customer discounts. Last year it had to spend $1 billion to rewrite thousands of lines of code to make its programs less susceptible to viruses. Its Xbox gaming console is winning raves from players but has yet to make serious money. Meanwhile, Apple has stolen the show in online music with its hugely popular iPod and iTunes Music Store. Plus, the recently released Firefox browser, which can be downloaded free, has forced Gates to reconstitute an Internet Explorer development team. Indeed, four years have passed since Microsoft released a piece of software that generated the kind of buzz Google seems to generate every month.

    So Microsoft is competing with Linux on the overall OS, with Sony and Nintendo in the gaming market, with Apple for music related things, with Mozilla for browsers, and with Google (and Yahoo) for search. The battle is being fought on too many fronts. All of these companies that are succeeding in competing with Microsoft are succeeding because they're trying to do one thing well. They may have other projects they work on, but they devote themselves full out to that one arena in most cases. Apple isn't trying to write search engines. The Moz folks aren't getting into digital music. Too many fronts...

  • by lcsjk (143581) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @08:50AM (#12440362)
    I downloaded and installed Google because I wanted to try it and use it if I wanted to. Recently, MS Search showed up in my task bar without my knowledge. I uninstalled it, not because it is bad, but because MS did not give me the option of saying yes or no.

    It took me a while to find uninstall instructions. I knew I could have used control panel, but I was wondering how the home user with no knowledge of computers could get rid of it.

    I don't know if users of XP (I use 2000) have had the same problem, but if MSSearch is automatically installed on users' computers, it may get used more by the unsuspecting and those that don't care what they use. If MS can put MSSearch on all XP computers without the users' permission, it will gain market share. This would be another similar case to the IE-Bundled to give it market share, but this time MS would be able to say the users have choices.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:00AM (#12440433)
    Have to post anon for the obvious reasons. I have a close friend who's been on the the core team for the search engine at M$ for nearly 2 years now.

    Though he's in complete denial about his position he projet is nop nearer to rollout then a year ago. Why? Because M$ has turned from a team of highly skilled engineers to a mass of bumbleing corporate sycopnts.

    The tales he tells about the project are astounding. Engineers are suin the company and being transferred about like cattle. Far, far more time is spent on interoffice politics and CYA then ever is done on engineering. Teams get reshuffled and project specs get redone. My friend had to get a lawyer just to threaten the company enough to keep his own job there and the weird thing is....the significance all this seems to be completely lost on him.

    He maintains that the new search engine peoject will knock the socks off Google even and he's been maintaining this for almost a year now....with nothing real to show. Looks like the reality distortion field isn't just restricted to Jobs.

    My prediction...M$ will drop this project after another year after spending dozens (hundreds) of millions on it and the let the finger pointing and firings begin! M$ no longer has what it takes to carry an innovative project to completion. They're too fat, too decadent, too full of disloyal temp workers and too busy trying to cover their own asses.

    Mark my words...the M$ search engine project and it's (imho) inevitable failure will be the death knell for M$.

    Tiger anyone ? ;)
  • Not first? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:16AM (#12440561) Journal
    [Google] has combined software innovation with a brand-new Internet business model--and it wounds Gates' pride that he didn't get there first.

    Excuse me.....when has Microsoft ever really gotten there first? Their signature business method is to buy some small or unknown software company in a given market and then use their monopoly influence, price undercutting, and FUD to drive out or hinder competitors while they hurry to catch up with whatever software they bought. Years later, they have little competition and a product that is "good enough" (read: Marketing has convinced enough people to buy it and put up with all the bugs that remain).

    They've already bought their search [com.com] technology [nwsource.com] but apparently it's harder than it looks. Of course, they would have preferred to eliminate [guardian.co.uk] the competition outright.

    The real problem here is that Microsoft can't cut their price below free and Google has at least one software generation or so head start (that, coupled with the other Microsoft bug-a-boo -- FOSS). Billy boy is never so pissed than when a company points out just how uninnovative Microsoft really is...

    Their next slogan? "Microsoft -- following the leader like usual."

  • by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:25AM (#12440598) Journal
    Plus, the recently released Firefox browser, which can be downloaded free, has forced Gates to reconstitute an Internet Explorer development team.

    Now there is a telling quote...no competition, no development? Someone needs to send this to Congress...
  • by master_p (608214) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:36AM (#12440687)
    I am surprised with many things the article says.

    First of all, I am surpised by Bill Gate's suprise that Google shares value increases while Microsoft remains at the same level. Google is an information company, i.e. it helps find information. Information is the most valuable asset today. Doesn't Microsoft get it?

    Secondly, I am surprised by the statement that "Microsoft always hired the smartest engineers". For me, Win32 is piece of crap. Who the hell designed that? Whoever did, is worthy of public humilation and torture.

    Thirdly, I am suprised by the fact that Microsoft thoughts of themselves as 'innovators' (as the article says). Come on guys at MS! what innovation? aren't you the guys that dismissed the internet until you saw how much demand there was for Netscape?

    Finally, I am surprised that each time I say on Slashdot that 'an distributed information management operating system' is needed, everybody dismisses that...but now Google is about to become the next Microsoft, with products that do just that: they manage information for us.

    Microsoft fails to recognize the 4 primary operations for a computer:

    a) creation of new information
    b) deletion of information
    c) display for information (including search)
    d) update of information

    If Microsoft was the innovator they thing they are, their operating system should be a giant model-view-controller process, where each 'application' could register itself to any kind of information available to the system (either local or distributed).

    Who ever can produce a product that can seamlessly intergrate the above 4 operations with a programming language and an operating system over a distributed environment will win both the desktop war and the computing platform war. Google seems to be ahead, simply out of the process of evolution. It's not too late for others to jump on the bandwagon, but I doubt Microsoft can be one of them, since they are like a big slow-moving dinosaur right now compared to Google.

  • picasa (Score:3, Informative)

    by yagu (721525) <yayagu@NospAm.gmail.com> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:40AM (#12440719) Journal

    Well, I'm not even entirely through the article, but when you read something like: manage, edit, and send digital photographs using Google's Picasa software, easily the best PC photo software out there;..., the author does much to discredit him(her)self. First, there aren't many products that qualify for the descriptors "easily the best" in anything, and second Picasa isn't, (and third Google didn't even write Picasa, they purchased it). It's a great piece of software, but it ain't the best, and it ain't even close.

    Google is doing some great stuff, but let's not genuflect when they sneeze.

  • by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @09:51AM (#12440821)
    I saw ol' Bill give a little rah-rah speech a number of years ago. I dropped my can of tuna fish in the box at the door, thus feeding the MS PR machine (that was, at the time, making hay about how MS was helping feed the hungry) and gaining free entry to Jones Hall in downtown Houston. Most of the attendees had obviously never been to the symphony so they didn't know the layout of the place. Since there was no reserved seating, I ran around to a box entrance and grabbed a seat within, literally, spitting distance of the stage. I mean, the guy was right there in front of me, close enough for me to hear him breathe off-mike. Close enough for me to feel what he was feeling instead of just listen to his words. We were treated to the Gates/Baldwin parody of that silly SNL-inspired movie, A Night at the Roxbury. I guess that would make this about 5 years ago.

    The PR garbage flowed from him, everyone made nice, and then questions were taken from the floor. Someone asked about Linux. That was when things got surreal.

    Gates made a point of screwing up the pronunciation of the name, trying to give the impression that this OS was from a foreign planet or something. Then he set about ridiculing the available apps, the ease of use, etc. He threw a handful of ill-considered (to anyone who knew anything about Linux) criticisms against the wall, hoping something would stick. He tried to make fun of the whole thing.

    And he sweated bullets. Literally and figuratively.

    It dawned on me at that moment that the guy was flat-out scared. He saw this THING bearing down on him and he clearly didn't have a clue how to respond. "Barely-concealed panic" is how I would characterize it. I get the feeling this Gates character really hates to not be in control and this Linux thing was giving him ulcers.

    That was the ridiculing stage. The fighting stage came soon after. But that was also the moment that I realized Linux was here to stay.
  • GLinux? (Score:3, Funny)

    by brontus3927 (865730) <edwardra3.gmail@com> on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:04AM (#12440932) Homepage Journal
    According to TFA, Gates read Google's help-wanted listings and saw that Google was looking for people with experience in OS design. Does that mean there might be a GLinux in the works?

    Imagine if Google did indeed do this, but took it a step further and made their on WM (GWindow Manager?) so that Google's services were integrated into the distro. Clicking the mail link on the desktop would lead you to GMail (possibly read through their GBrowser). You could do google searches directly from a taskbar widget. You would use Picassa for your pics. A future "GOffice" to word proccessing, spreadsheets, etc. Maybe the future would see a Gplayer?

    Oh shit, this is starting to sound like Windows...except it would be free...but you would probably have an AdWords pane in your file manager...I think my head is going to explode now

  • by Mistah Blue (519779) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:05AM (#12440943)

    Methinks Microsoft has totally lost focus. One of the cover articles in this weeks Computerworld is an article on Microsoft adding virtualization to Longhorn.

    What's up with that? The rate they're going they will never get a release of Longhorn out. At some point, you've got to draw a line in the sand and say this is what we're going to release. Then DO it! Save the virtualization for a follow-on release!

    I'm so glad I bailed on Wintel a couple of months ago for my personal machine. I've got a 15" PowerBook with Tiger on it (blow me TigerDirect!). I know I have a predictable product release cycle ahead of me. You can't say the same with Windows.

  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @10:10AM (#12440989) Homepage
    What they're actually referring to is Google's practice of using their AdWords system for recruiting. If you search Google for obscure, advanced topics in computer science, a Google employment ad may appear.
  • by Ridgelift (228977) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @11:16AM (#12441565)
    FTA: Google has even had the nerve to set up an office five miles down the road from Microsoft's Redmond, Wash., headquarters. Its opening last November was supposed to be an invitation-only affair, but word spread and by 7 p.m. the place was swarming with dozens of uninvited Microsofties--casually, and sometimes not so casually, looking for work. The Google migration has gotten so bad, says a former Microsoft employee, that when he told his bosses and colleagues he was leaving earlier this year, "the first question out of their mouths was 'You're not going to Google, are you?' "

    THIS is the real battle, not software, not market share, but people. I can't see any other reason why Google setup an office just down the road from Microsoft other than to siphon off their talent. When the industry believes the smartest and brightest are at Google and not Microsoft, confidence in products, market share and ultimately the future will follow.

    Make no mistake, Bill is livid because Google is stealing sheep from his cherished flock of programmers.
  • by hey! (33014) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @11:24AM (#12441638) Homepage Journal
    Sometimes I fantasize about what I would do if I had a lot of money.

    I look around at guys who are making a lot more dough, and I think to myself, they aren't any smarter than me; usually they're less smart. I'm just not willing to do what they did: primarily spend a lot of their time and energy thinking about how to make more money. I'd rather do something beautiful, or fascinating, and to work with people I really like being around. The rich aren't like you and me -- and the difference isn't just money.

    Bill Gates is a the example of this in the extreme. I deeply respect his philanthropic work. But there is something to his outsized competitiveness that I find disturbing. It's almost as if somebody else's success amounts to a personal failure to him, and that positive attention to others is a personal affront to him. Of course, it's this competitiveness that enables him to do the fantastic philanthropic work he does, but it strikes me as almost, well, insecure and a little sad.

    As an ordinary person when I look at Sergei and Larry of Google fame being successful, I'm delighted that a couple of nice guys are getting positive attention for being smart and decent. I'm not sure this is a feeling Mr. Gates can ever share.

    Some psychologists are now suggesting that people have a kind of "set-point" for happiness; a level they happen to gravitate towards despite things that happen in their lives. Success can make them more happy briefly, but they tend to return to their baseline. So, I suppose if I ever do decide to put my mind to making serious money, I'll still be as happy as I am today. But I doubt I ever will get a chance to put this to the test.
    • by GPLDAN (732269) on Thursday May 05, 2005 @01:43PM (#12443358)
      You know who had that in spades? Michael Jordan. He HATED when some new kid would be appointed the next Jordan. And way before Kobe, there were lots of people given that title. I remember one kid, same kind of build, bald held - could jump out of the gym, played for the Heat. Jordan asked that he be put on him, he often rotated the offense to force the matchup. And then he would just POUND guys. make them look stupid. At both ends of the floor.

      He'd do this to WHOMEVER was the hot new thing. He really got off on it. It wasn't just a fuel to win, a competitive drive, it was vindictive and it was personal. Michael's trash talk was considered some of the most mean spirited talk in the league for many years. He'd talk about your mother. He made it personal.

      I think for some guys, the Gordon Gekko Sun Tsu thing is just there. Business is war. You msut hear the lamantations of their women. Ellison at Oracle is like that. He launched a smear campaign aginst the Peoplesoft execs that were holding out on him, he wiped them out.

      FOr Gates, it's weird. He knows most people hate him. He has a huge, very generous and very well directed foundation that does a ton for AIDS in developing nations, but it seems to buy him no PR. He has no personal charm or charisma at all. He's petulant and vindictive by all accounts. Everybody would like to see the guy get his. Even customers.

      I'm trying to think of another historical figure in the United States history who was that powerful, that philanthropic, and yet that reviled. Andrew Carnegie maybe.

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