Saturday, April 29, 2006

Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc

Ok, so it's been a while since my last post. Ok, quite a while. Yes, I know, over a month!

Anyway, I thought I'd start back into it by discussing happenings in the IT industry. I was having an interesting chat about the state of things with a mate tonight, and these were a few of my thoughts. Now I'm no business expert, or fortune-telling psychic, but me thinks big things are happening.

For a start, Microsoft are in a lot of tepid water at the moment. For a start, the EU debarcle does not seem to be going well for them (here and here). They haven't released a desktop version of Windows for about four years and Office is now about three years old. Added to that is the fact that the distant Vista is getting cut down more and more, although they still have big hopes. And in the last few days, Microsoft shares are sinking faster than Tiger's golf balls. The only thing that does seem to have worked out for them lately is the Xbox 360.

Apple seem to have taken a Microsoft-esque approach in recent years, marketing crap products to the masses. The uptake of iPods has been huge (with even the Pope getting an iPod recently), despite reports of poor quality and Harvey Norman reporting a high return rate. Even the Motorola ROKR spin-off has been a flop. It intrigues me that a lot of people don't even seem to realise that there are other personal music players available with equal or better features for much less. So it just goes to prove once again, that you don't need to have a good product to make good money.

Google on the other hand seems to be the company of the 21st century. Through clever thought and planning, they have a company which while being a monolith is still highly respected. Their recent run-in with the DOJ allowed them to illustrate to the world what they stand for. The have also made some clever acquistions in the last couple of years, including Blogger, Keyhole Software (Google Earth)and @Last Software, makers of SketchUp. The only real hit for them recently has been the China censorship issue.

The way I see it, companies like Apple and Microsoft will soon find their out-dated habits hard to continue with. Companies like Google are demonstrating that it is possible to be BFG (ie: Roald Dahl's Big Friendly Giant, not Doom's Bio Force Gun ;-) in this modern age.

See also: this article on innovation.