Google Ahead in Innovation?

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-11-07

Even before company Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates had finished explaining Microsoft Corp.s new Windows Live and Office Live offerings, industry observers and analysts were already saying that search giant Google Inc. still has the upper hand and warning that Microsoft needs to overhaul "its culture of derivative innovation."

In his Oct. 31 online commentary, "My View: The Google Future," Forrester Research Inc. Chairman and CEO George Colony said his Cambridge, Mass., company is predicting that Web pages will be replaced by a new software model known as the executable Internet, or X Internet, that will allow users to do much more than is possible with old, static Web pages.

"Google will be the company that leads this revolution," Colony said. "It is already writing programs like Google Toolbar and Google Desktop Search that run on your computer but blur the divide between your desktop and the Internet." Ray Ozzie, Microsofts chief technology officer and the person tasked with executing a software services strategy across the Redmond, Wash., companys three new business divisions, last week admitted that Microsoft has learned much from Google, especially around online advertising.

"Weve all learned quite a bit from [Google], and all of us together have begun refining at an aggressive pace," said Ozzie at the launch event for Windows Live in San Francisco. "We really believe they and we have barely scratched the surface in how technology can match people who want to buy things."

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Philippe Courtot, CEO of Redwood Shores, Calif., security vendor Qualys Inc., said that introducing Windows Live and Office Live shows "Microsoft has clearly realized that once again its market dominance is threatened by the emergence of new technologies that will make the Internet the primary delivery mechanism for applications that will be delivered as a service."

Colony said Microsofts upcoming Windows Vista "had better be fantastic, and Microsoft had better be able to re-spark its culture of derivative innovation. The coming of the X Internet fundamentally changes the software and Internet landscape, with Microsoft an obvious loser. That is why Google may be so dangerous for its Internet brethren—it knows programming, and they dont."

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