03.22.10

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In Fight Against Google, Microsoft Adopts China Strategy

Posted in Asia, Bill Gates, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Office Suites, Search at 3:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Linux” is the new “democracy” in China if Microsoft gets its way

USSR

Summary: As Google makes new moves to render Office obsolete, Microsoft warms up to communism and tries to capitalise on Google tensions in China

WE are not advocates of Google, but one must remember that Google helps weaken Microsoft and it also spreads GNU/Linux. It does a few other things that are beneficial to Free software, notably Summer of Code. For all practical purposes, Google is better off avoided for a plethora of other reasons. Google is valuable to search, but in other areas it likes to get hold of people’s data under promises of “cloud computing” and other fluffy new jargon.

Microsoft’s booster Gavin Clarke writes about Microsoft and Google in the following article which makes a quote-worthy observation:

In health, for example, you have Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health – two growing repositories that are seeing Microsoft and Google set themselves up as massive gatekeepers of information. They have recognized that in the information age, survival comes not by adding more features to applications or operating systems but by owning the information itself and then letting others access it. Talk about buying your way into the future.

Microsoft has resorted to government lobbying in order to gain possession of this data. It’s a very serious matter. But in other news, it appears as though Google is poaching Microsoft’s business customers as the fight for people’s personal data and mail carries on [1, 2].

Earlier this month we wrote about Google's DocVerse acquisition (which is still in the news). It’s about poaching Microsoft Office customers. One financial op-ed says that “Microsoft [is] in Danger if Office Margins Fall to Google App Levels”

Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Office Suite is a group of desktop applications used primarily for word processing (Word), spreadsheet preparation (Excel), presentations (PowerPoint), and email (Outlook).

Microsoft is releasing the full version of the new Office 2010 to businesses starting in May 2010. The May release will include a web-based version of Office for the first time. This is response to Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) cloud-based Google Apps productivity software which has been available online since 2007 and is increasingly gaining traction amongst both consumers and businesses.

We believe that the shift to more cloud-based software is likely to continue and result in a decrease in Microsoft’s Office software margins. Microsoft will incur higher costs as a result of delivering a cloud-based version of Microsoft Office and this can have an impact on the Microsoft’s stock.

There is also this in the news:

Microsoft Mum on Plans to Answer Google Apps Marketplace

Microsoft may one day counter Google Apps Marketplace with a third-party integration shop for cloud computing of its own, but if there are any such plans in the works, Microsoft won’t share them as it competes in the cloud with Google, IBM, Salesforce.com and others. IDC analyst Melissa Webster says Microsoft, which has always worked well through channels, may consider offering such a store in the future. Google Apps Marketplace Product Manager Chris Vander Mey tells eWEEK that four Marketplace partners have each logged over 1,100 domains installed.

Google moves further by targeting Outlook users with migration tools (Novell’s GroupWise is also targeted by this, as we showed over the weekend). Coverage in the news includes:

Google Builds Microsoft Exchange Escape Route

Google Apps Migration Tool Makes Ditching Microsoft Easy

Google Tool Moves Users from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps

Global CIO: Google, At Last, Goes For Microsoft’s Throat

Switch from Microsoft Exchange says Google

Now migrate between Google and Microsoft

Another chapter has been added to the ongoing cold war between Google and Microsoft. Google has come up with a new tool to give a big advantage to its enterprise business by this latest application that it offers.

Google Apps punts kill-Microsoft-Exchange-now tool

While Microsoft has been failing to outfox Google in the web search and ad game, Google has – apparently – swiped a few of Redmond’s customers away from MS Office.

The Mountain View Chocolate Factory gloated on its corporate blog that 25 million people worldwide had switched to Google Apps in the past year.

IBM pressures Microsoft too (services built on GNU/Linux) and Microsoft is being compared to “a dinosaur” by NetSuite, which Microsoft tries to fight rather aggressively using incentives.

An internal memo from NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson dismisses Microsoft’s bid to attract NetSuite customers as “the last gasp of a dinosaur trying to protect its Stone Age software products.”

Now comes the more interesting part. According to reports that Google declines to comment on, the company has been put under pressure that may lead it to leaving China within weeks. This would be good news for Microsoft [1, 2], but Fortune/CNN writes the post titled: “Who wins when Google leaves China? Microsoft and Baidu might not like the answer”

Some industry watchers suspect that there may have been Microsoft manipulation intended to game the Chinese government and drive Google out of the country. Bill Gates and others from Microsoft have special relationships with the Chinese government, as we showed before. From a Wall Street Journal blog:

However the Google episode pans out, it’s likely to have a lasting impact on the way foreign companies deal with China. Over the years, foreign executives have frequently made the mistake of copying the way that Chinese officials deal with their superiors. The approach is best summed up in the Chinese phrase “pai ma pi” – “slapping the horse’s rear”. The problem with sycophancy isn’t so much that it’s offensive to watch, but that it’s a lousy business strategy. China may enjoy the kowtow, but it doesn’t respect it.

As a side note, let’s remember what led to the diplomatic tensions between Google and China. It all started when Microsoft’s Internet Explorer led to attacks on Google [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. After this incident/episode, Google stopped censoring results, whereas Microsoft continues to collaborate with totality and suppression, which Microsoft is so akin to anyway. Here is another new statement which merits discussion.

However, with possible success in China, it is possible that Microsoft’s acquiescence with Chinese censorship may cause the company to face heat in the United States.

Microsoft’s ‘search’ is already all about censorship (even in the West where there is deliberate demotion or exclusion of Microsoft’s competitors), so why would Microsoft have any special sense of guilt in China? On Chinese phones that run Android/Linux, Microsoft already tries to sneak in its illusion of 'search'.

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