« 1:10:89: the vital statistics of online media | Main | Digg v YouTube v Flickr v Wikipedia: the four wonders of Web 2.0 »


Google is the new Microsoft, says The Economist

The Economist this week carries a special report on Google (and carries these two articles on Web 2.0), and the search giant comes in for some serious criticism. Worst of all, it says the company is behaving like Microsoft in the 90s:

Google is thus starting to look a bit as Microsoft did a decade ago, with one strength (Windows for Microsoft, search for Google) and a string of mediocre “me-too” products. Google Video, for instance, was supposed to become an online marketplace for video clips, both personal and business, but has been overtaken by YouTube, a start-up that is a few months old but already has four times as much video traffic. Google News, where the stories are, characteristically, chosen by mathematical algorithms rather than by editors, perennially lags behind Yahoo! News, with its old-fashioned human touch. Google's instant-messaging software is tiny compared with AOL's, Yahoo!'s and MSN's.

Google is beginning to resemble the old Microsoft in another way, too. A decade ago, Microsoft stood accused of stifling innovation, because entrepreneurs would stay away from any area of technology in which it showed any interest. Google, whose slogan is “Don't be evil”, hates this comparison and wants to think of itself as ventilating rather than stifling the ecosystem of developers and entrepreneurs. “I don't see how they can say that,” says an entrepreneur and competitor who is too afraid of unspecified consequences to speak on the record. Like most of Silicon Valley these days, he finds Google's slogan ridiculous, because “we're not evil either, we just don't go around saying it.”

My tuppence-worth? When you're big you're a target, I'd say, and Google is attracting its fair share flack. As a user of an increasing amount of its services I like Google. I enjoy what they give me - it's exciting.

I do think they come across as arrogant, sometimes. I've encountered some Google people who were just plain rude as well as arrogant - there's hubris there, alright - but as long as I don't have to come face to face with that attitude (often) I'm happy with Google. And like I said in my last post - it's free...


technorati tags:



TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Google is the new Microsoft, says The Economist:


It was Google’s agreement to censor web pages and kowtow to Beijing that probably upset me—that ‘Do no evil’ didn’t extend as far as ‘let’s get some Chinese on board otherwise someone else will take them.’ Motive: prot, not freedom of information. For me, that was revealing; and should China become free, I wonder if future Chinese citizens will remember Google as a collaborator against their freedoms.

I understand why you might feel like that, Jack, and I'm not without sympathy for your point of view.I do have to admit that I feel torn on this issue, hence the time it's taken me to reply to your comment.

I guess I never bought the "do no evil" line from Google on the one hand, so I don't feel betrayed. But I also am not sure about whether it should stay out of China, or more to the point what its decision to self-censor in China means to me.

Is it wrong? If so is it on the basis of its hypocrisy or that it is wrong to do business with China? If it is what should we do? Think slightly less of it, not buy their stock, boycott their services?

Google has a long way to go before they become the new Microsoft.

At the moment all Google really has is search, ads and popularity.

Microsoft has dozens of highly successful products and outside of the 'techies' they do enjoy popularity.

The comments to this entry are closed.