A Microsoft cheat sheet for Google I/O

Summary:Microsoft, never one to shy away from blog posts touting how it is besting Google, has been quiet about the announcements Googlehas been making at the Google I/O developer conference this week. To fill the void, I thought I'd try my hand at a compare/contrast between the two rivals.

Microsoft, never one to shy away from blog posts touting how it is besting Google, has been quiet about the announcements Googlehas been making at the Google I/O developer conference this week. To fill the void, I thought I'd try my hand at a compare/contrast between the two rivals.

I'm not going to put a pro-Microsoft spin on my attempt. (I'll leave that to Microsoft's marketers, who are probably still recovering from yesterday's Skype news fest.) But here is the Microsoft-compete angle to some of the Google news I've been tracking so far.

Let's start out with the biggest news of the Google developer show so far: Angry Birds coming to Chrome. (Just kidding. Sort of...)

Angry Birds comes to Chrome: Microsoft has announced Angry Birds is coming to Windows Phone 7 on May 25 (The game is already on most of the other major smartphone platforms.) But Google is upping the Bird love, announcing Angry Birds is coming to the Web (meaning Chrome). Google also announced it will be offering developers a 95 percent cut on Chrome Web Store apps. Microsoft is currently offering developers a 70 percent revenue split on Windows Phone Marketplace apps. We don't know yet what percentage Microsoft will offer to Windows 8 app developers when it launches its Win 8 app store, most likely in 2012.

Google App Engine 1.5: GAE is Google's platform-as-a-service (PaaS) cloud offering, most comparable to Microsoft's Windows Azure. Unveiled in 2008, GAE is currently still in preview, but Google is saying it will go into production mode some time later this year. (Azure went live in February 2010.) Google also said this week that 100,000 developers are using GAE every month, and that 200,000 apps are running on the platform. Microsoft said earlier this year that it has 31,000 Azure customers. The 1.5 GAE release adds support for Google's Go programming language, and a 99.95% uptime SLA (once GAE comes out of preview). Microsoft offers a variety of different SLA rates for different components of Azure, which seem to run between 99.5% and 99.9%.

Chromebooks available in June, with subscription pricing for students and business users. Microsoft has been pushing the subscription-pricing envelope with Office 2010 -- by making a software version of Office  Professional Plus available for a per-month fee (which varies depending on the bundle) as part of its coming Office 365 bundle. But Google is taking subscription pricing a step further, by offering Chromeooks (the actual machines) available to students and business users for a per-month fee. Chromebooks will be available starting June 15 via Amazon and Best Buy. Samsung's device is $429 and up; Acer's is $349 and up. (And jailbreaking is allowed.) Chromebooks are laptops that don't let users access the underlying operating system, but which offer fast bootup and all-day battery life. They are designed to use Web apps only via the Chrome browser and Chrome Web store. I guess the closest Microsoft equivalent to this are Windows Thin PCs? I didn't much care for my prototype Chromebook and wondered why users who like the idea behind it wouldn't just buy a netbook.

Chromebox: Google didn't provide many specifics about the headless Chromebook, a k a the Chromebox, during the May 11 Chrome keynote at I/O. "Chromebox, a small, low-power desktop device intended for the business world. Like the Chromebooks, it runs Chrome OS, but comes with a bunch of utilities for system administrators," said Gizmodo. Engadget said the Chromebox will be more like a nettop. Samsung is said to be the OEM. No due dates or other info was shared. I'm thinking the closest Microsoft equivalent is Windows Home Server (maybe?). Other thoughts?

Chrome OS: Chrome OS, the non-operating-system OS that powers Chromebooks, now can do a lot of the things it couldn't late last year. You can print! You can plug in cameras and USB sticks/devices! There's a music/video player! It sounds like.... Windows, MacOS and Linux. Huzzah! On a more serious note, it sounds like Google is finally going to provide offline access for Google Docs, Mail and Calendar (by the time the Chromebooks are shipping in June, it sounds like). Google officials said last year offline access would be coming via HTML5, but that most users didn't really need it. (Really??) As I've blogged before, I'm curious what Microsoft might do regarding offline access for Hotmail whenever the next Windows Live release hits.

Android@Home: Android in your living room and your light bulbs. Google is getting into the home-automation market with a strategy to put Android in all kinds of devices, including home appliances, with its Android@Home initiative. Microsoft's been down this road a couple of times. Anyone remember .Net coffee makers? Microsoft decided the .Net Micro Framework stuff wasn't monetizable and turned it over to the community in 2009. But the Softies haven't totally given up on home automation. Microsoft Research is working on a number of projects in this space, including the HomeOS and related app store.

Ice Cream Sandwich: Ice Cream Sandwich is the next major version of Android, just like "Mango" is the next major version of the Windows Phone OS. There's a big difference in the Google and Microsoft mobile strategies, however: Google's goal with Ice Cream Sandwich, which is now not due until Q4 2011, is to make it the universal operating system for smartphones and tablets. Microsoft is taking a different approach and is continuing to push Windows as its tablet operating system, and Windows Phone OS (which is built around the Windows Embedded Compact kernel) as its phone operating system. Microsoft's next-generation tablet OS is going to be Windows 8, and isn't expected until late 2012. What we still don't know right now is whether Microsoft will enable Windows Phone apps to work (relatively seamlessly) on Windows 8 tablets. Some believe that the Microsoft Jupiter development project will enable this.

Music Beta by Google: Google's long-anticipated music service is just a beta and doesn't have the blessing of big music labels or publishers. It's also a U.S.-only thing (for now). I'm admittedly a big booster of Zune/ZunePass -- my music service, and one for which I've shelled out $15 per month for more than a year. From what I've read since yesterday about Google's entry here -- including this Venturebeat post entitled "Google music beta first look: It's miserable," I'm wondering if it may go the way of Google Wave....

What else have you heard/seen from Google's I/O this week that I should add to this list?

Topics: Microsoft, Browser, Google

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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