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Is Google the New Microsoft? 492

Posted by samzenpus
from the Imitation-is-the-best-form-of-flattery dept.
ericjones12398 writes "Google's come up with its solution for Dropbox: If you can't buy 'em, copy 'em. The search engine and online advertising giant replaced its popular Google Docs service with Google Drive, a cloud computing storage service designed to directly compete with start up Dropbox. This raises the question, has Google become the new Microsoft? Us ancient folk who remember the 1990s and the Microsoft anti-trust trial can certainly notice some parallels. A big, dare we say monolithic, company doesn't bother innovating on its own. It just waits for other companies to innovate, makes some changes for legally significant distinctions and enters into competition with the innovator. Sound familiar?
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Is Google the New Microsoft?

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  • Re:Singing the Blues (Score:2, Informative)

    by Blymie (231220) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @12:15PM (#39908437)

    That was never the case, ever.

  • Re:Let's just say (Score:5, Informative)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @12:15PM (#39908443) Journal

    Let's also remember that Microsoft also blatantly stole. Remember Stacker?

  • Maybe, maybe not. (Score:5, Informative)

    by multicoregeneral (2618207) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @12:17PM (#39908459) Homepage
    All big companies do this. It's not proof that Google is Microsoft. It's proof that Google is big. What made Microsoft distinct was the way it competed. Google doesn't compete with the same level of carnage that Microsoft did. There has been some bloodshed, but the fact that Google+ is where it is, would be a good way to demonstrate the argument that Google is not Microsoft. Have there been allegations of predatory behavior? Yes, of course. Do you hear about it happening all the time? Not really. Google drive is kind of like Dropbox, but Amazon Drive is a lot more like Dropbox. Why is everyone talking about Google, when Amazon stole the service and copied it lock, stock, and barrel? Amazon is Dropbox's ISP for hosting this stuff. And yet, despite the fact that the case of Amazon is predatory, everyone's so concerned about the case of Google, which isn't? Why, exactly do people who care about predatory business practices care more about Google than Amazon? The mind boggles.
  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @12:25PM (#39908535)

    It wasn't so much they stole as they infringed on patents.

    Stac felt their patents covered software Microsoft bought from Vertisoft, improved upon and rolled into MS-DOS.

    Stac was found to steal from MS though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 06, 2012 @12:25PM (#39908539)

    Facebook [rt.com]

  • Re:Let's just say (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 06, 2012 @12:32PM (#39908605)

    Dude, are you really trying to make UID counter overflow? Your last failed sockpuppet [slashdot.org] is just a few hours old. I'm sure you can lost longer than that.

  • Re:Let's just say (Score:5, Informative)

    by BZWingZero (1119881) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @12:49PM (#39908749)
    Having a monopoly (at least in the US) is not illegal. Abusing that monopoly is. Bundling IE and tying it deeply into the OS is what got Microsoft in trouble.
  • Re:That depends... (Score:5, Informative)

    by cyber-vandal (148830) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @12:55PM (#39908813) Homepage
    Exporting Google Mail isn't terribly difficult. Microsoft allowing you to import it has nothing to do with Google. Putting their stuff in their browser when they have 2 other major competitors has nothing on driving all other browsers out of the market and imposing a non-standard browser that set the web back a few years. WebM - lol you are clutching at straws aren't you. WebM has failed miserably to unseat h264 which is, unlike, Chrome, monopoly rent protected via patents. I suggest you read Judge Jackson's findings of fact and see just how badly behaved Microsoft were, and how Google, so far, have nothing at all on them as a scumbag corporation.
  • Re:That depends... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Terrasque (796014) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @12:58PM (#39908841) Homepage Journal

    Have you ever tried to get a document or spreadsheet out of Google Docs and into one of the other on-line office suites? How about exporting your entire Google Mail archive and importing it into Hotmail?

    Trolling much? I just tested.

    Google docs :
            File -> Download as -> Word, ODT, RDF, PDF, Text, HTML (Zipped)

    I downloaded as ODT, and it looked exactly like on google docs. You can also batch download docs.

    And Gmail support both POP3 and IMAP.. What else do you need?

    Contacs list... CSV and vCard export.

  • Re:Let's just say (Score:4, Informative)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @01:18PM (#39908977)

    Google Maps and Earth come from KeyHole Inc..

    Google Maps came from Where 2 Technologies. But that doesn't change the basic point you make.

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @01:48PM (#39909183)

    Yes, even their Search Engine wasn't really that novel.

    Bullshit. Their algorithm, page rank, was something brand new that was a significant improvement on the two standard approaches to search engines: hierarchically organized oracles (Yahoo) and keyword matching based on relative frequencies (Altavista).

    Seriously, I'm sorely disappointed by the amount of basic information that techies here are getting just plain wrong. I'm starting to think that the astroturfing/trolling is having an effect on people. How does it go? A lie gets half-way around the world before truth gets its pants on. As said, I'm pretty disappointed by the posts here.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 06, 2012 @01:56PM (#39909263)

    Stac was found to steal from MS though.

    Nope. Stac was found to have reverse engineered M$ software to be able to figure out the hooks needed to make their software work with DOS, since M$ said, those interfaces were never documented for 3rd parties to use.

    Timeline for Stac (as I remember it.. Good friend worked there)
    1) Stac releases stacker for DOS
    2) M$ copies it.
    3) Stack sues and wins $23M from M$
    4) M$ counter-sues Stack wins $3M from Stac for reverse engineering to enable interoperability with undocumented M$ software.
    5) M$ buys stac, and guts.
    6) M$ claims in anti-trust case the opposite of (4)

    M$ is in its own league when it comes to sleaze.

  • Re:That depends... (Score:5, Informative)

    by darrylo (97569) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @02:00PM (#39909291)

    You've obviously never heard of google's Data Liberation Front [dataliberation.org].

  • Also, at the time Google first came out, the prevailing sentiment was that search was a dead end, that there was just too much stuff out there and it was impossible for algorithms to figure out how to pick out the best pages for a query. So when everyone else was focused on building big curated directories of the Internet, Google's innovation showed that search could not only work well, it could work much better than directories.

    There are times when a quantitative improvement in quality provides a qualitative difference in utility, and those are innovations. One of my favorite examples is git -- git doesn't do anything that several other distributed version control systems didn't do first, but git's primary innovation was to do it all hugely faster. So much faster that it improves productivity not just by reducing time spent waiting for the computer, but by actually changing the way people use the tool. Web search was drowning in crap results and everyone expected that as the web got bigger this problem would continue to grow, so search was doomed -- until Google showed that it wasn't, that in fact it's the most natural way for people to interact with huge volumes of dynamic data, if done well.

    For that matter, Larry Page believes that Google has -- even today -- only solved about 10% of the search problem, and that there are huge opportunities for additional innovation in that space.

    (Disclaimer: I'm a Google engineer. I don't work on search, or Drive. I mostly work on Google Wallet which is clearly a blatant ripoff of... er...)

  • Re:Let's just say (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vintermann (400722) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @03:05PM (#39909711) Homepage

    Gmail has search and spam filtering capabilities that no native client can remotely match. (Outlook's search functionality is a joke).

    Searching and spam filtering are the two main features I need out of a mail client. The labeling system in gmail is just gravy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 06, 2012 @03:28PM (#39909851)

    Really? Because I'm looking at a dogshit summary here on slashdot that goes the opposite direction. Worse, it's derived from a shit "article" by a nobody on some god-awful site we wouldn't normally visit.

    Google didn't replace Docs. They changed the name and added a bunch of features. All your docs are there, all the online productivity components are there just as they always were, etc. They tacked on storage for all other file types. So... that part is just straight-up wrong.

    And as everyone on earth knows, there are no completely new ideas. Dropbox didn't invent cloud storage. They didn't even invent the way they handle cloud storage. Any offer to buy them amounts to a courtesy, at best. So the question, as always, is who does it best, at the best price, with the least evil company running the show.

    Google has proved itself to be extraordinarily ethical. The only things they have in common with Microsoft is that they're big and they're a technology company. Bullshit articles like this are just meant to rile people up with flaccid speculation.

    So suck it up, wipe away the tears, and next time bring your A-game.

  • gmail sucks (Score:3, Informative)

    by Snaller (147050) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @04:22PM (#39910135) Journal

    Good think I saw this before hitting 'moderate'

    Its possible gmail search works grand for you, but its complete and utter shit for me! Their inept search doesn't find tons of words that I KNOW are in the mails!

    I have to pop it all to do offline searching because the search i gmail is utter crap.

    Now i suppose its possible I've run into a bug, but you can't report bugs to google because their whole "support" website boils down to "go away user"

    (Now some fanboy may say that there is a "report bug" menu item from one of the "menus" on the site - NO - there isn't - perhaps that's another bug from the company who only cares about who you are, and nothing about what you want)

  • Re:That depends... (Score:5, Informative)

    by asserted (818761) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @06:37PM (#39910779)

    no, really, all you need to migrate off GMail is IMAP and it's right there. if Hotmail doesn't let you import via IMAP, it's their problem.
    if they really want to go after GMail's users, they should implement it and write instructions on how to do it, including how to enable it in GMail - which takes exactly 4 clicks (Settings -> Forwarding, POP and IMAP -> IMAP = Enabled -> Save Changes).
    IMAP makes it possible to migrate messages *and* folder structure.
    what else do you expect Google to do? write a document on how to migrate off GMail? don't be silly!.. well, in fact, there is such a page. http://www.dataliberation.org/google/gmail [dataliberation.org]

    have a look at http://www.dataliberation.org/ [dataliberation.org] in general. Google goes above and beyond anyone else in the industry with respect to providing ways to export data from its services.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 06, 2012 @06:41PM (#39910815)

    You must be an Micro$lop employee.
    Microsoft was convicted of infringement vs. Stac Electronics to the tune of $625 MILLION dollars NET as a result of that case.
    Microsoft killed a number of other companies, and quite possibly resulted in the final "kill" of DEC with their actions (documented in NYTimes) vs. Network Computers, Inc. As I understand it, BillG called the Chairman/CEO of DEC at the time and delivered an ultimatum along the lines of "You can be my enemy, or Larry Ellison can by me enemy. Choose [now]". At that point in time, the discussion point was that NCI was a key venture started by DEC+Oracle. DEC for the hardware (StrongARM processors and the base OS distributions) and Oracle for a lot of the user-mode code.

  • Re:Let's just say (Score:4, Informative)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @07:51PM (#39911269)

    Exchange relies on Internet Explorer for the "ajax" part, even to this day. Also, you have the minor issue of needing to run an Exchange server. Gmail required no server on my part, gave me oodles of storage space, completely took away my old habit of meticulously sorting email into folders, and responded almost as well as a real native application. It was amazing at the time.

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