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The future of MS, Apple, and Google
May 13, 2005 7:13 PM   Subscribe

The future of Google, Apple, and Microsoft.
posted by Tlogmer (40 comments total)

 
last I heard, Google took down the Accelerator because of customer complaints...
posted by gen at 7:45 PM on May 13, 2005


So Apple takes over video and movies while Yahoo threatens with a low-priced music subscription service and Google threatens to take control of, well, everything.

And Microsoft? Microsoft kicks the dog.


Gotta love that last bit.
posted by furtive at 7:50 PM on May 13, 2005


Interesting.

So this is how an oligopoly works...
posted by curtm at 8:05 PM on May 13, 2005


Yeah, but I don't really see it happening.

xBox 360 will perform many functions that currently require a home computer. Not only will xBox 360 play video games, it will play music and movies, surf the web and probably even offer a non-PC platform for voice-over-IP.

What message does this send to Microsoft's hardware OEM customers that make home computers? What is Microsoft saying to Dell, HP, Gateway, and others? For all the customer bullying we saw proof of in the Department of Justice's anti- trust case against Microsoft, one thing the kids in Redmond never did was propose to undercut their hardware OEMs by building a Microsoft PC. But now that's precisely what Gates has proposed, and it is coming in time for this Christmas.

I don't know why Microsoft would make this move at this time.


One possibility is that they're transitioning toward Apple's model: design software for one type of hardware. 20 years ago that model was too expensive to compete well, but now that hardware prices have dropped so much and software's increased in complexity (and price, yeah), it may be worth it.
posted by Tlogmer at 8:07 PM on May 13, 2005


last I heard, Google took down the Accelerator because of customer complaints...

According to webaccelerator.google.com -
"Thank you for your interest in Google Web Accelerator. We have currently reached our maximum capacity of users and are actively working to increase the number of users we can support."
posted by gunthersghost at 8:09 PM on May 13, 2005


... and Microsoft kicks the dog.
posted by liquid54 at 8:17 PM on May 13, 2005


I don't know if I like this. It means I'm really, really going to have to depend on these companies. I'm not sure if I'm for or against that yet.
posted by Tlahtolli at 8:27 PM on May 13, 2005


hay guyz, remember what the teh intarweb was about DEcentralization?

(ps: cringely is a tool.)
posted by keswick at 8:37 PM on May 13, 2005


The only bit that made a little bit of sense was the Xbox thing. The rest of it he's just, kind of, making up. Which is fine, he's a prognosticator. He doesn't have to be right, just interesting. Job well done.
posted by airguitar at 8:38 PM on May 13, 2005


But what I DO know is that the Google Web Accelerator effectively turns every user into a thin client, whether they know it or not. Consider the obvious upshots of this. If Google adds power to its part of the Accelerator, you don't have to add power to your end, meaning your old PC can last longer. Part of that has to come from Google assuming a larger role over time, taking responsibility for rendering Flash, for example

Um, wha?
posted by jikel_morten at 8:41 PM on May 13, 2005


jikel_morten

Google stores the internet on their computers as a proxy, waiting for your computer to ask them for the data. The more space they have, the more they can cache, the faster you surf.
posted by stewiethegreat at 8:44 PM on May 13, 2005


That's nice, but that doesn't explain rendering Flash can be done anywhere but locally.
posted by keswick at 8:45 PM on May 13, 2005


Google stores the internet on their computers as a proxy, waiting for your computer to ask them for the data. The more space they have, the more they can cache, the faster you surf.
posted by stewiethegreat at 8:44 PM PST on May 13 [!]


Yeah I know...I just think he's really reaching here. And what keswick said.

The article was interesting, somewhat, but that flash comment puts the authors grasp of the situation in question.
posted by jikel_morten at 8:57 PM on May 13, 2005


Cringely is definitely a hack, but he's fun to have around. He's a hack with access.

Though once it's hacked, the XBOX 2 is going to be an awesome poor man's G5.
posted by blasdelf at 9:11 PM on May 13, 2005


that last line in that article is classic.
posted by Mach5 at 9:12 PM on May 13, 2005


I wonder if he means Google is generating Flash content on-the-fly. Not for the kind of Friday Fun stuff we get around here, but for those applications that generate new views of real-time or web-time data.

Ie. perhaps that Flash app that gives us a visual interface to the day's most-reported news stories, is created by/obtaining information directly from Google, rather than the author's poor little webserver.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:46 PM on May 13, 2005


that microsoft ending is just a crowdpleaser to make all readers feel superior when they leave the article. don't buy sell-outs.
posted by foraneagle2 at 9:47 PM on May 13, 2005


that microsoft ending is just a crowdpleaser to make all readers feel superior when they leave the article. don't buy sell-outs.
posted by foraneagle2 at 9:47 PM PST on May 13 [!]


I like your take. Good point.
posted by jikel_morten at 9:52 PM on May 13, 2005


Part of that has to come from Google assuming a larger role over time, taking responsibility for rendering Flash, for example

This doesn't fly. If flash is rendered remotely, how would it be sent to the client? Essentially, you'd be downloading something tantamount to a (large) video instead of a set of images and instructions that your local flash client pieces together and plays, as it's done now.
posted by jikel_morten at 9:59 PM on May 13, 2005


Is there any possibility of a partial approach, where some of the processing is done remotely and some locally?
posted by Tlogmer at 10:27 PM on May 13, 2005


The Register reports that:

Google has disabled downloads of its Web Accelerator software less than a week after introducing the service. The suspension follows reports that the software was caching sensitive content, such as user control panels to online forums.

There's no suggestion that online banking records on other content from secure ecommerce sites was turning up in the cache.

posted by lagavulin at 11:03 PM on May 13, 2005


MSPBS would take care of Cringely.
posted by crasspastor at 11:05 PM on May 13, 2005


"xBox 360 will perform many functions that currently require a home computer. Not only will xBox 360 play video games, it will play music and movies, surf the web and probably even offer a non-PC platform for voice-over-IP."

None of these functions currently require a home computer. I would go so far as to say that none of these functions are even predominantly performed by home computers, except surfing the web - and that's beause the web is largely designed for viewing on computers. Your TV sits on the other side of the room, your computer monitor sits a couple of feet from your face - one is conducive to web browsing, the other is not, and I don't think the xbox 360 is going to change that very much.

Microsoft is not threatening its OEM customers by releasing a cheap living-room media/games box because Dell/IBM/HP/etc aren't in the business of building cheap living-room media/games boxes, and there's really very little overlap.

Google Web Accelerator was buggy and prefetched things it shouldn't (breaking all sorts of stuff), which is why you can't download it anymore. They'll fix it, but it will be obsoleted fairly rapidly by better connection speeds and this kind of (prefetching) technology in the client itself. The reason they are doing it is not to take over the world, it's because they want even better information about browsing habits for search optimisation and marketing/advertising purposes.

Yahoo's new low-priced subscription music service is simply the next step in the inevitable and overdue remoulding of the business model of the music industry. And the first time I've considered using a digital download service, so they must be doing something right. The logical culmination is that all services will have access to all the music around and all players will support whatever DRM is available - competiton will then be on service and price, or maybe value linked to the amount of different music you can "possess" at once.

HD video over the internet is something very much for the future. At the moment on the vast majority of the planet you can order a DVD and have it arrive in the post quicker than it's possible to download it, and this will continue to be the case for HD movies for quite a few years.

Video is fundamentally different to music in terms of its usage, and with that in mind I think the current (netflix, etc) systems will simply shift to DRM'd downloads as soon as connection speeds that can handle them become widely available.

Who is Cringely anyway? I hope he doesn't actually get paid to write this dreck.
posted by cell at 12:36 AM on May 14, 2005


The future of Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

Gapplesoft?
posted by Harry at 2:59 AM on May 14, 2005


>This doesn't fly. If flash is rendered remotely, how would it be sent to the client?

In this scheme, Google actually also watches the flash for you remotely, and the client is never bothered with it at all. This would save a lot of time, particularly around the workplace.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:25 AM on May 14, 2005


OEM's should worry. Microsoft sees the erosion of the 'software only' position - it needs a harder to replicate product.

Because the Open Source people can, given time, replicate most of the Microsoft functionality. Anyone with a computer and a brain can become a software producer - the barrier of entry is low.

Hardware, well, that has a far higher bar. Hence a return to hardware by Microsoft.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:43 AM on May 14, 2005


The article claims that Web accelerators can speed up web surfing by 100%. If this is true, how come we aren't all using them already?
posted by afroblanca at 6:10 AM on May 14, 2005


Moople?
posted by thekorruptor at 9:58 AM on May 14, 2005


My "making this shit up" detector was beeping like mad through this whole article. And I'm not even that knowledgeable.

As a game-gossip junkie, though, I have to take all the Xbox360 hype with a grain of salt. Remember all the things Microsoft claimed about the original Xbox before its release? Like how its uniquely simple and cheap programming environment would foster creativity (war sims proliferating, Psychonauts dumped and saved by Majesco)... the hard drive would "remember" your five most frequently-played games, and save them to the hard drive, eliminating loading times (not a reality for anyone but hackers)... that the hard drive would be useful for anything, aside from game saves (which makes it impossible to take your game data to a friend's house, since their own memory unit was made obsolete and almost completely unsupported)... Xbox Live was going to make it possible to compete in your favorite 2-player games with people around the globe (so long as it's a shooter or racer, and not anything "weird")...

Anyway, the only person talking about set-top-style features in the Xbox360 is Bill Gates. And as smart as he may be, he's no gamer, trust me. The Xbox was already capable of all those multimedia features (just ask the hackers) but Microsoft simply farted out a lame "PC media link" program late in the system's life. And most sources indicate the Xbox 360 will come in two flavors at launch: the basic, or "reasonably priced" model, which will have no multimedia features and no hard drive; and the "pro" model, which nobody will buy. Just ask anyone who purchased the optional PS2 hard drive, or (God forbid) bought the Tivo-like PSX unit in Japan. People simply do not want these features yet. Anyone who wants Tivo functions already has a Tivo, and the squabble over who gets to do movies on demand won't be settled in the lifetime of the 360, or at least it won't be settled in Microsoft's favor.

Just my 37 cents.
posted by kevspace at 10:06 AM on May 14, 2005


Doesn't the increasing speed of home internet connections sort of make the web accelerator thing less of the great thing its supposed to be? Does it really make much of a difference?

(I installed it and then removed it after reading the negative stuff about it and the fact that there was a system tray icon that I couldn't remove cluttering up my life)
posted by aqueousdan at 11:21 AM on May 14, 2005


Cringley is a complete waste of complex molecules that should never be paid any attention. Although, if you would rather, they seem to make a post on Slashdot every time he crawls out from his cave.
posted by blacklite at 12:52 PM on May 14, 2005


Whose the dog now?
posted by stbalbach at 2:42 PM on May 14, 2005


What a bunch of idle speculation.

every video game system since the 8-bit NES was going to be an "online information system". Nintendo had a modem for the NES which they setup and sold in japan.

The origional X-box, with a hard drive, is actualy better suited for this type of thing. And it is what microsoft intended. If anything the X-box 360 is a retreat. Without a hard drive to save things onto, how is it going to serve as a 'hub' for all this crap... unless you have an internet connection that allows you to stream all your content off their network (a huge waste of bandwidth, by the way).

Sony had similar hype about the PS2, even the origional playstation. And even the playstation pocket today.

They all go back to selling games because thats where the money is.

People already have computers, and don't need a 'media box' to do anything other then play video games.
posted by delmoi at 3:12 PM on May 14, 2005


Image hosted by Photobucket.com
posted by keswick at 3:15 PM on May 14, 2005


Google might even offer its own hardware device, optimized for the Accelerator. At that point, you'll buy your PC from Google, use Google as your ISP, surf an Internet that is really the Google cache, be fed ads and sold content from Google servers. Its a GoogleWorld that requires no AOL, no Microsoft, no Intel, no HP or Dell -- only Google, cable companies, telephone companies, users, and of course advertisers and web page producers.

Where are my flying cars!?!?!?!
posted by themadjuggler at 3:43 PM on May 14, 2005


rough ashlar - good point especially as by commoditizing their complement MS has opened up its own industry to OS software, which in turn is commoditzing MS. In that regard apple is in a more secure position. (see here about the 'commoditzing your complement' stuff).
posted by blindsam at 6:13 PM on May 14, 2005


note to self: spell check works only if you click it.
posted by blindsam at 6:14 PM on May 14, 2005


That's nice, but that doesn't explain rendering Flash can be done anywhere but locally.

Flash does not, not, not render remotely. You know those loading movies? Those measure how much of the movie has come down onto your hard drive. As a Flash developer I run into a problem all the time where a refresh (even a total one like with ctrl-shift-r in firefox) doesn't clear your cache and you're looking at the cached version of my flash movie instead of the new one, because the browser didn't read a new date on the web page. I've even used file sizes to find the cached version of flash movies on my drive, just for fun.

Unless of course you're using 'render' in the sense it should be used which is when you create the flash movie. But I think you mean play the flash movie, because the other would be just silly.
posted by lumpenprole at 7:52 PM on May 14, 2005


The history of technological prognostication suggests that Cringley's suggestions about the XBox are wrong. You can find 'Boy's Own' books from the forties that feature a cutaway of a house with a big electric motor in the attic, which drives all your appliances through a system of belts. It looks idiotic to us now, of course, but that's because we're fully adapted to the electric motor paradigm.

Amazingly, after a good 30 years of demonstration to the contrary, there are some people who still seem to have a "motor in the attic" complex about microchips. While the home computer is the most versatile machine ever made, its existence does not necessarily imply that there is a need for more types of machines that are in some way like it, in fact, surely the opposite.

Most people would rather have a number of things that do one job well, rather than one thing that does a number of jobs badly. I could use a wooden spoon to butter my bread, but I choose not to.
posted by howfar at 10:03 PM on May 14, 2005


Flash does not, not, not render remotely.

I think it does, does, does, does, does, not render remotely (does).

Silliness aside, you must realize the file does still render from the locally cached copy. Google's caching can only serve as an additional cache, it can never be a substitute for your local cache. Not unless you think broadband connections can match the speed of local hard disk access in the future.
posted by aki at 10:13 PM on May 14, 2005


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