A Brief History
Since storming onto the internet search engine scene in 1998, Google has been a constant thorn in every competitors side. In the early years, Yahoo! was the main player and the biggest opponent. At this time, Microsoft had MSN Live Search and wasn’t focusing intently on the search engine market. As the dot-com bubble burst, however, Google took a major stand, gaining a vast majority of the market-share and overtaking Yahoo!.
Google, however, was not satisfied with only the search engine crown. Over the past few years, as Microsoft focused on it’s battles in the video game console and portable music player worlds, Google continued to chip away at the mega-giant.
In 2006, Google announced their “Google Apps” product; A free software suite that works inside your web-browser and that would compete directly with Microsoft’s “Office” product. In the same year, Google purchased the online video site Youtube for $1.65 billion, single-handedly taking over the internet video world. Barely getting a jab in, Microsoft released Windows Live Search, their follow-up to MSN. It was still no match for Google.
The War is Upon Us
In September 2008, Google struck again with the release of their own internet browser, Google Chrome to take some of the market-share away from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
In recent months, the internet war has exploded and neither Microsoft nor Google are pulling any punches.
June 3, 2009 – Microsoft releases it’s new search engine “Bing”, replacing Windows Live Search. Although it has its flaws, early reviews are strong.
July 7, 2009 – Google announces plans to release an open-source operating system, Google Chrome OS, based on it’s web browser and a Linux platform.
July 13, 2009 – Microsoft announces intention to release a free online version of their Microsoft Office Suite to contend with Google Apps and keep people buying their products.
July 29, 2009 – Taking it back full-circle, in hopes of eating into Google’s internet search market-share, Yahoo! makes a deal with the devil, signing a 10-year deal that will replace Yahoo!’s search engine with the engine used in Bing.
August 3, 2009
Google has literally taken the war to the streets, announcing their “Go Google” advertising campaign. Their plan is to run actual billboard ads (yes, on the sides of highways) in Boston, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. The ads will be changed each day and will focus on highlighting the frustrations that come with using Microsoft’s Office. Google hopes to push users and companies into making the switch to their Google Apps product, taking a major piece of what has always been Microsoft’s pie.
While I’m not entirely sure how effective this “old-school” strategy will be in converting customers, it’s definitely a bold move. Google is known for their search engine and Microsoft is known for their software. Each now have both hands in the others pot. This is a no-holds-barred brawl and there is a lot at stake. As valiant as Microsoft’s recent attempts have been, Google is looking Brock Lesnar at UFC 100. They’ve got Microsoft down, and without a major swing in momentum, they’re ready for the ground and pound.
THE FUTURE MAY BE BITTER-TWEET FOR MICROSOFT
While I’m not a big fan of Twitter personally and don’t really see a future in it long term (more on this in a future post), there is no denying it’s impact on the internet and social networking community over the past few months. Twitter’s membership and popularity have grown exponentially since the early months of this year. Millions of daily posts create an immediate need for a comprehensive built-in search engine. Rumors have already surfaced involving talks between Twitter and both Google and Microsoft. At the end of the day, it will probably come down to money.
If Microsoft can acquire Twitter and do something with it, it may be just what they need to pull them close to Google. If by some chance Google manages to acquire Twitter, however, they would be setting themselves up to deliver the knock-out punch. They would get the girl, retain their belt, and send Microsoft back to the locker-room to nurse their wounds and focus on Xbox 360 and Project Natal until they are ready for a rematch for the “Internet Championship”. While this is surely far from over, the only thing that’s for certain is it’s going to be fun to watch.
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