I was browsing on webmagazine Salon when I came across an interesting review written by Scott Rosenberg of the book ""=""> by Randall Stross. (The title of the article is, "Google's Vulcan death grip." Boy am I a sucker.)
In the piece, in which Rosenberg reflects on Google's rise and its intentions to "do no evil" was an acute, accurate comment to rival Microsoft's own recent failings:
"What is tripping up Microsoft today? Certainly, its own ungainly size and the decrepitude of its flagship products have both played roles. But most of all, it has been the company’s inflexible dedication to its founding vision of “a computer on every desktop” — even in the face of mounting evidence that the computer itself is becoming less important to people than their connection to the network."
Really, Rosenberg is asking: Is Microsoft's fatal flaw the computer?
Said out loud, it borders on the preposterous, but taken at full value, it's quite a prescient statement.
Google is capable of extreme growth because of the myriad subsections of online web applications it can enter into. Microsoft, on the other hand, is stuck between a box (the one you're sitting in front of) and a hard place (Google's formidable market share of online services). Microsoft Live, for example, has been interesting, but nowhere near as universally adopted as the latest Google project.
The companies are codependent in a way. But as we move away from the traditional desktop toward laptops, netbooks, smartphones and other mobile online devices, will Microsoft be able to continue to evolve and keep its own "Vulcan death grip" on the devices that allow you to reach Google services?
In the case of the 10 million-strong iPhone, no. And those Linux netbooks have been grabbing a lot of headlines recently. Heck, even Mary Jo Foley thinks Apple's new $800 laptop might eat into Microsoft's profits.
Is Microsoft's fatal flaw the computer? Tell us in TalkBack.