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Google Might Disappear in Five Years 861

Posted by Zonk
from the says-microsoft dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Speaking to a packed auditorium at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., on May 12, Ballmer trumpeted the ripe opportunities around Microsoft's sprawling business and questioned the ability of Google to maintain its edge. Clearly alluding to Microsoft's key Internet search rival, Ballmer said: 'The hottest company right now -- the one nobody thinks can do any wrong -- may just be a one-hit wonder.' According to concept developed by Ballmer, the online search engines represent the key points of the future technology, and the leader in this domain, none other than Google, is destined to perish in less than five years. These predictions belong exclusively to Microsoft's CEO who sounds a little like Bill Gates announcing iPod's death."
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Google Might Disappear in Five Years

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  • Hahaha (Score:5, Funny)

    by BaCkBuRn (621588) * on Thursday May 19, 2005 @08:58AM (#12577425) Homepage Journal
    Steve, you're such a kidder!
    • Re:Hahaha (Score:5, Funny)

      by mollog (841386) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:12AM (#12577664)
      (Balmer bends over, takes loafer off foot and pounds on the podium), "We will bury you!" Steve, we're already buried. But we're digging out.
      • by Radres (776901) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:39AM (#12578012)

        I happen to think that given the two very different philosophies of these companies that Google is probably dominating the marketshare of talented developers. Google quite simply appeals more to the geek aesthetic of innovation and using technology to enhance people's lives. MS is all about hampering innovation and using devious business tactics to ensure that inferior technology always prospers. At least that's the general perception.

        If you're one of the best software developers out there, who would you rather work for? Even if MS offers more money, it's hard to justify wanting to work for MS.

        Gates has admitted in many interviews that the key to the success of Microsoft has always been in attracting the best minds to come work for them. Something tells me that is no longer the case and that is why the writing is on the wall for Microsoft.

        • by Jasin Natael (14968) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @12:07PM (#12580016)

          I would second that thought. Microsoft claims they have the 'best minds' working for them, but I would posit that their measurement comes from easily quantifiable metrics, and has nothing to do with innovative or intuitive people.

          From what I've seen in school, Microsoft attracts all the students (especially international ones) who have gotten a 4.0 in all their classes and can handle the stress of working 16-hour days. And, sadly, the ones who have no ideological stake in the computer industry, but who got their degree solely to make money.

          The people Microsoft doesn't pay attention to (or can't get) are the Linux nerds who'll try to compile a kernel for anything that runs on electrical current, the creative Mac geeks who are just as handy with Photoshop as CodeWarrior, or the true computer scientists who are completely platform-agnostic as long as they can use a computer to learn something or solve a problem. There are other stereotypes out there, but (for the most part) they all tend to evoke this idea of being principled about their use of technology.

          My guess is that Microsoft's patent policies, legal strong-arming, and monopolistic practices made it clear to this crowd long ago that they didn't give a flying crap where the industry, technology in general or even society (to the extent that it is steered by developments in their areas of operation) was going, as long as it put some money in their pockets. And there ARE a lot of PhD's and Masters Degree Holders that this tactic appeals to. At least in my experience, the really innovative and involved computer scientists don't tend to maintain a 4.0, attend every class, or participate in all the computer-related clubs on campus. But they are the ones with a personal stake in this industry, and for some reason, they tend to care enough about the computer community and the well-being of society at large to tell MSoft to screw off.

          I don't know why I just wasted 10 minutes preaching to the crowd...

          Jasin Natael
    • Re:Hahaha (Score:3, Funny)

      by peragrin (659227)
      Well I feel better.

      Every time Steve, or Bill makes a prediction the opposite happens.

      Google is God and will live forever anyway.
  • Bill Gates predicting the demise of the ipod [slashdot.org] about a week ago?

    This is typical microsoft FUD. They are so far behind they don't even have a creditable product to show an alternative to. But they will still tell you that there is a superior windows based solution available.

    I guess they owe it to their shareholders to fly the flag. Hopefully nobody will actually believe them.

    Michael
    • I think BG is right though. I have a cell phone and an iPod. I don't *want* both, but I have both. Combine them and make them better than the sum of their parts and I'll happily give up my iPod.
      • by thparker (717240) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:13AM (#12577670) Homepage
        And I won't. Just because you'd prefer to use your phone as a music player doesn't mean it's what a majority of people want, and it doesn't make Bill right. I suspect we'll see a substantial market for both kinds of devices for a very long time.
        • by EggyToast (858951) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:49AM (#12578168) Homepage
          The thing is, the iPod is already a good device with functionality that could be integrated into other devices.

          The problem is that those other devices would have to drastically change how their services are being offered. I don't want to pay to transfer songs to my phone. I don't want to pay a monthly fee in order to keep my iPhone activated.

          I trust Apple a great deal more than I trust any cell phone company.

          • by thparker (717240) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:11AM (#12578504) Homepage
            I trust Apple a great deal more than I trust any cell phone company.

            Yup. Conveniently, an article [usatoday.com] in today's USA Today discusses the wireless industry and their abysmal record of customer satisfaction.

            "In nearly every gauge of customer satisfaction, the wireless industry scores at or near the bottom. Worse than insurance companies. Worse than credit card outfits. Worse than car dealers."

            You'll forgive me if I don't want these people to have anything to do with how I obtain and listen to music. The wireless providers want to maintain of lot of control over these heavily subsidized handsets and what we can do with 'em.

      • by bitchell (159219) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:18AM (#12577744) Journal
        I have both and I am quite happy to keep them apart. I don't want a dishwasher that makes me dinner any more than I want a phone thats battery is dead because I listened to some music.
      • I'm sure there is a market out there for a cell phone based iPod killer, however, don't assume that what you want, or what Billy wants, is what the rest of us want.

        I'm happy with my mp3/ogg player (iRiver iFP395) and my PDA (Palm Tungsten E). I have no interest what so ever in a cell phone with their over priced billing and crappy service. And with that opinion I'm sure you can easily conclude that I would have no interest in a cell phone that plays music.

        burnin
        • I honestly cannot remember when last I did not feel the need to have my cell phone on me whenever I leave the house. I know that cell phone service in some countries is apparently bad, but here in the 3rd world (South Africa) our cell phone service is very good, so I'd assume that most of the 1st world does have good service.

          Anyway, the point is, even if ipod sales grow and grow, I'm willing to bet mp3 playing phones will grow more (especially outside of the US). The end result will be that the ipod will b
      • by bogado (25959) <bogado AT bogado DOT net> on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:47AM (#12578137) Homepage Journal
        Join every wingle thing in one package and when you loose this single (and probably very small) package you loose every single thing.

        Add to that the fact that those "all in one" deals usualy are of poorer quality then the dedicated one. I don't see digital cameras disapearing, sure those cheap "for the clueless consumer" will become the celular phone. But there will be always a better dedicated one.

        For those reasons I would say no. I would expect that all the devices would integrate more easily. I see a future where you could use your cell phone to send the picture you just taken with your camera to some buddy, witch phone is in your
        PDA. All of that would be possible only by those appareils being near each other.

        I see you getting close with your pda to your computer and the pda would sudenly being able to use your keyboard and your 15" ou 20" screen to display their contents. All of this if the computer "turned off".

        When the computer is on it could request to automagicly backup every thing in all devices with a given priority for each device. All of that would be authorized by a master device that would have your private key, this could be a small item in your keychain or inside your wallet.

        Sure there are details to think of, but all of this is possible with the tecnology we have today. Bluetooth make some of those things, and there is a wireless USB on the way.

        Sure you will still be able to take pictures with your phone camera, and use your cell to store some (or all) of the phones from your PDA. But those will be for times where you are caught off guard.
    • by mm0mm (687212) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:15AM (#12577699)
      Next Microsoft's official announcement will be "Watch out! Sony's PS3 won't play Mario!"
    • by Tony (765) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:16AM (#12577716) Journal
      I guess they owe it to their shareholders to fly the flag.

      Nope. They owe it to their shareholders to do the best job possible to keep their company profitable; they can do that without being bastards. The only time they "owe" their shareholders something else is when they make promises; then they better deliver.

      Case in point: when you say you are going to utterly destroy a competitor (ethics aside), you'd better have a real plan on how to do it. You had better not just have some pithy sayings to throw out at random and not-so-random gatherings. If you say Google is going down, you need a plan on bringing Google down. Even if the plan fails (at which point the board should judge your competence), you need a credible plan.

      Lying to your stockholders by promising things you can't deliver is bad business. Yet it seems MS is on a rampage of deceipt. (That's not really news.) Personally, I think every time they make promises like this, the stockholders should hold them liable.

      But maybe that's just me, being all bleeding-heart and wanting a little accountablity.
    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:16AM (#12577721) Homepage Journal
      I think both of them are right, FWIW. I've never seen Google's long term strategy, if they exist in five years it'll either be as an also-ran or as something other than a search engine company. It's easy to see how some dotcoms are able to have a long term strategy - Amazon, for example, builds a brand but actually sells things on the basis of that brand, and does a lot of work to ensure they have a superior shopping experience compared to their competitors. Google's slowly working its way to becoming a portal, a business model proven over and over again to be a disaster for the vast majority of the companies that have tried it.

      The PDA is dead, its functions supplanted by the cellphone. Today no cellphone exists that challenges the iPod, much as no cellphone - at least beyond a few concept phones like the Nokia 9000 - existed six or seven years ago that had the full calender, notes, et al, functionality we see in pretty much everything today. All we need is about $60 worth of additional hardware in a sizable amount of phones (and mobile phone manufacturers have successfully incorporated much more, often for trivial gains, in the past without problems) comprising of a small low-power hard disk and a 3.5" jack, and we're looking at something that can contain MP3s the same way an iPod can. Manufacturers are experimenting right now, but at this point they're just looking at competing with the flash MP3 player market. Given the benefits of a hard disk to the rest of the system, especially with multimedia and camera phones, expect this to become standard issue within the next two or three years.

      Whether any Microsoft technology will be at the heart of any of the iPod and Google replacements remains to be seen. But even Google isn't Google any more. Why would anything resembling it exist in five years? And who the hell is going to buy an iPod if their phone already has all the capacity they need and can play MP3s?

      • ...Today no cellphone exists that challenges the iPod...

        The reason for this has nothing to do with technology. Apple and Motorola would have had such a gadget out already. The problem is the greedy cell phone companies won't allow it. They want their phone customers to pay for downloads of music over their networks, rather than getting it through their computers via CD ripping or iTunes. There is no money advantage in an iPod phone for Verizon or any other phone service provider. Since cell phones are ofte
  • "Might" (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2005 @08:58AM (#12577431)
    Bill Gates might turn into a dog.

    Aliens might show up and kill everyone on Earth.

    Slashdot might not ever dupe a story again.

    Might is a powerful word.
  • by swingkid (3585) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @08:59AM (#12577435)
    Steve Ballmer will still look like Uncle Fester.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2005 @08:59AM (#12577446)
    Google has been verbed, it isn't easy killing something that has been verbed. When you search for something you 'Google' for it, MSNing for something just seems wrong.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:17AM (#12577730)
      I'm with you. And I'm not sure about the one hit thing either.

      Lets see, I used to have a hotmail account, I ditched that for my Gmail account (which I love BTW), so thats one product.

      I ditched mapquest for maps.google (or whatever it is, I just google for it :) ), so that's two.

      I ditched all other search engines for Google, so thats three.

      Desktop search, I haven't gone there yet, but I think you know where I will go first. Thats four.

      Steve, I think you are delusional, and wish you the best once reality sinks in.

      • It makes me wonder when a good part of Microsoft's communication with the general public entails deriding the success of others. What I find particularly funny about it is that in all these areas, Microsoft is following, not leading. Note to Steve: it doesn't matter how much lip service an organization is willing to pay to the idea of innvation, if you aren't first (with something that isn't painfully obvious), you're not innovating.
    • TiVo (Score:3, Interesting)

      Google has been verbed, it isn't easy killing something that has been verbed. When you search for something you 'Google' for it, MSNing for something just seems wrong.

      Not easy, but possible, and TiVo will be next. Of course, it's easy for MS to say, having developed so many successful products. I don't think they've had a new profitable division in 15 years since MS Office - yes, last I checked their gaming division wasn't making them money.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2005 @08:59AM (#12577453)
    You can interpret the Ballmer quote as: "we intend to buy it... and make it suck."
  • Not again.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Thursday May 19, 2005 @08:59AM (#12577455) Homepage Journal
    Ballmer said: 'The hottest company right now -- the one nobody thinks can do any wrong -- may just be a one-hit wonder.'

    Rather than post that as news, it and the iPod bit from Gates should be moddable. I am thinking Flamebait or Troll, and by Balmer's same logic, Microsoft may not be here in five years either. :-) Seriously though, this is classic Microsoft. "We are not in the market now with a competitive product, but once we are... boy you better look out because we are going to dominate! Granted, Microsoft's business model is to throw something out there that is usually half baked and then refine it until it works just good enough. They then leverage their monopoly and dominate the market. So, Google's dominance may not in fact, be everlasting but Google has shown the world how to make a search engine that works and is simple and elegant. If Microsoft wins the search engine market, our search engines will be cluttered with ad upon ad and suck up amazing amounts of bandwidth. In reality, given a level playing field, I believe the market will continue to speak and decide on the best browser, which right now judging from my logs appears to be Google.

    • Re:Not again.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Khomar (529552) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:23AM (#12577804) Journal

      The thing that impresses me with Google is that they are not a "one hit wonder". Yeah, their search engine is very impressive, but it could disappear within five years. Has anyone checked out Gmail lately? Or Google Maps? Or any of the other products they have been coming out with? Google is producing web software that is technically excellent and extremely usable.

      In my mind, Gmail's biggest strengths are not in its massive size or even the searching capabilities. It is all of the little touches that make things easier: automatic popup of contacts as I start typing, tracking conversations by e-mail, keyboard shortcuts, saving e-mail sent from 3rd party software -- all of the little touches that make it a joy to use.

      Why do I bring this up? This is not just the strengths of a single product, but it is indicative of the level of quality and eye for detail that defines the company of Google. They know how to make great software -- from a technological viewpoint as well as user experience. Microsoft may be able to kill parts of Google (ie. certain products), but they will have a difficult time keeping this great company down. If one app gets killed, they can always come out with a new one. The strength of a company is not in its products but in the quality of their people, and right now, it looks like Google has the very best.

      No, Ballmer, I think Google will be around for quite a while.

      • by zoombat (513570) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:31AM (#12578851)
        What I hear you saying is that as long as Google continues to inovate, they will be a successful company. True.

        But what makes Google a potential one-hit-wonder is their limited revenue streams, not their limited product offerings. With the VAST majority of their revenue coming from Adwords, they leave themselves vulnerable.

        That's why things like their enterprise search appliances are important. Not only do they need to continue to inovate their products, but they have to develop more different ways to make money.
  • very un-classy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yagu (721525) <yayagu.gmail@com> on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:00AM (#12577462) Journal

    From the fine article: "I've lost track of the number of times people have said the personal computer has reached its limits," said Ballmer.

    Well, I've lost track of the number of times Ballmer and/or Gates has predicted the next wave in technology and were wrong.... One I found most notable was in 1999, when Gates at a keynote speech said within a couple of years, everyone would be communicating with their computers via speech. And, unless you count shouting "@(*$&#@(*&$" at a recalcitrant PC as communicating via speech, he was dead wrong.

    Notable about his wrongness wasn't the "missed" prediction, in my opinion, it was how off-the-mark his vision was -- a vision easily and with little intuition would have predicted no PC/speech interaction, even if the technology completely stepped up to it (it didn't).

    It seems pretty clear to me Ballmer/Gates use the bully pulpit not to make clear and visionary statements about the future, but instead to state what they want the future to be as it relates to:

    • future sales of Microsoft products
    • squelching growth and/or success of real or potential competition.

    Ballmer's bad-mouthing and demise-forecasting statements are more of the same. What is it with Microsoft and its leadership anyway? Nobody expects them to be patsies for the industry and its competition, but they'd earn a little more good will and respect themselves if they'd show a little for the others in the industry who have demonstrated real innovation and have contributed to the industry.

    I'm probably risking troll karma with this post... but really think Ballmer, and Gates need to be called on this each time they make these public statements... Remember, Ballmer is the guy who, in reference to the DOJ investigation of their business practices said of the Attorney General (and I'll just paraphrase)..., "attorney general can go to Hell".... very rude in and of itself, and unforgivably, he used a "go to"....

  • by shotgunefx (239460) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:01AM (#12577470) Journal
    right...
  • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:01AM (#12577475) Journal
    Using Google. I know I won't. It's the default search engine in Safari and Firefox, I don't see that changing to Microsoft any time soon.

    Google, iPod, PS2. It's great to see Microsoft in a distant 2nd place (if in any place at all) in many of the new technology areas.

  • Hehe... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FuzzzyLogik (592766) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:02AM (#12577495) Homepage
    I still use google exclusively. i never even try other search engines because google finds what i need right away. as long as it does that then i won't be switching. not to mention the stay outta your face ads and clutter of other search engines. google has a clean interface, finds the stuff i'm looking for, and stays out of your face. works great for me!
  • by Compholio (770966) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:02AM (#12577501)
    may just be a one-hit wonder

    Yeah, so Google only does searching (pretty much) - what is wrong with that? They do a damn good job of it and so far no-one has been able to beat them because they continue to come up with better and better techniques to stay on top. I wouldn't be surprised if Google starts shoring up its other services but as long as they keep their search engine the best people will continue to come back.
  • by MtViewGuy (197597) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:04AM (#12577524)
    ...Good old Yahoo! is making a major comeback of sorts.

    Anyone who's seen Yahoo! in the last two years note they have improved their searches (thanks to the acquisition of Overture), and started up a lot of new features that I find very useful.
  • Trash Talking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thenetbox (809459) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:04AM (#12577533)
    Does trash talking really help CEOs of major companies? It sounds like a WWE soap opera almost.

    Google has already proven that its not a one hit wonder. They've had hit upon hit upon hit.

    Does Google talk trash? I don't recall them making any bold stupid statements and that alone makes me like them more.

    Come on google release an operating system to really get things interesting.
  • by dsfox (2694) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:04AM (#12577535) Homepage
    If I am understanding the article correctly (which appears to be written in broken english) Ballmer is talking about every online information site supplying meta-information about its content so that search engines are unnecessary. To that I say, fat chance. Why bother if Google solves the problem on plain text?
  • Same Guy? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Bananatree3 (872975) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:04AM (#12577537)
    Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! [ntk.net]

    Hmm... Seems this guy likes to get EXCITED at these confrences, maybe he just got a little bit over excited this time.

  • google.com (Score:5, Funny)

    by SteveX (5640) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:04AM (#12577542) Homepage
    I backordered [networksolutions.com] google.com; I should get it in 5 years when they're not around to renew it...
  • I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Momoru (837801) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:05AM (#12577550) Homepage Journal
    I agree in the sense that technology changes so quickly these days, its just as likely Microsoft will be considerably less powerful 5 years from now. 5 years ago would anyone predict Apple would be doing as well as it has? That Google would be as popular as it is? Currenly Google is expanding very quickly, I would argue too quickly, and still 98% of their profits are from one source...so yes if that one source changes or goes away, Google will too. Also although Gates predicting the iPods doom sounds like FUD, that is entirely possible too. If one perdicted the Walkman's doom in the 80's they would seem crazy too right? Tech changes fast. And its hard to say for sure if Google or the iPod are fads or here to stay.
  • Dateline 2009 Google buys Microsoft.
  • by mekkab (133181) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:06AM (#12577569) Homepage Journal
    That seems like the Crux of Mr. Ballmer's argument. And frankly, thats so obvious, its MBA 101.

    Google is taking strides; witness Gmail and Google Maps; when my DAD (the guy who self infected his PC with Spyware) is raving about how cool Google Maps is... you know that Google the company is heading in the right direction.

    But Microsoft can fight wars on multiple fronts. Regardless of the wisdon of that, can Google say the same?

    Additionally, this could me the Microsoft version of FUD; "Sure, google is tops now. But what about 5, 10 years? Investors, put your money in Microsoft, a proven leader!"

    Perhaps that last point is a little too Sun-Tzu, but you have to question his motives.
  • by mario_grgic (515333) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:08AM (#12577606)
    Does that mean MSN Search bars and all the crap that's currently being installed bundled with MSN Messenger will make it into next version of OS.

    It just might make all clueless windows people start using MSN search, because it's there on their task bar all the time.
  • One hit? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sierpinski (266120) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:09AM (#12577618)
    I don't see how they can be called a one-hit wonder. They have their search engine, then google maps, froogle, picasa photo sharing, labs, scholar (for research papers and such), google answers, language translation, newsgroups, local business information, and much much more. (see more at http://www.google.com/options/ [google.com])

    Its obvious that google is doing much to expand their capabilities. I wonder how often Mr. Ballmer uses google himself. That's a stat I'd like to see.
  • "One-hit wonder?" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Entropius (188861) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:10AM (#12577630)
    Google has shown, time and again, that it's good at things other than search.

    Has he ever really checked out Google Maps, where you can see high-res maps and aerial images side by side? (I'm right now looking at high-res pictures of the building on the army base where I used to work. Score one for freedom of information!) Or gmail, which does webmail far, far better than anything anyone else can come up with?

    They've got other services, too: Froogle, image search, usenet, a translator...

    Google, as part of their business, has lots of smart people and an enormous amount of computer juice under one roof. Unlike Microsoft, they've shown again and again that they can come up with nifty ways to use those people and computers to get information into the people's hands... ... and they do it all without being oppressive or looking to create "brand lockin" like Microsoft does with their Passport system.

    Microsoft competes with marketing tricks and coercive business practices: business model first, product second.

    Google competes by creating a product that's better than anything anyone else has, and then figuring out a way to make money off of it. In the long run, this approach works better. If you make good stuff, you'll always have a market.
  • by CKnight (92200) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:10AM (#12577638) Homepage
    As is often trumpeted by Google founders, search is FAR from solved. With only 15 percent of the internet's content indexed (That was a few years ago. Maybe it has grown, maybe it has shrunk), Google will still have many a year left in the fore without any need to diversify or innovate. Couple that with the fact that they ARE diversifying and innovating and what you have is a company with a whole lot of staying power.

    One can only assume that Balmer made these statements because it's been almost a week since he's been in a headline and we all know he has a quota to fill.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:12AM (#12577667) Homepage
    Is it just me or is MSFT starting to sound like the Iraqi Information Minister? There are no Linsuxes within a 100 miles of Redmond! We will drive the Googles into Puget Sound!
  • GoogleOS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by unk1911 (250141) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:13AM (#12577671) Homepage
    Just wait until Google releases GoogleOS, like next week, and we'll see who will be gone in 5 years.

    --
    http://unk1911.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
  • by Vellmont (569020) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:14AM (#12577692) Homepage
    It sounds like Ballmer is afraid of Google when he makes statements like this. The whole article can be summed up as "Steve Ballmer wishes Google would just go away!".

    I often wonder what goes on in CEOs minds when that make stupid comments like this. Are there really people out there that believe what he says?

    (somewhere in the wasteland of business)
    "Ballmer said Google doesn't have a stable business.. must be true."
    (pushes buzzer on desk)
    "Mabel? Call my broker and tell him to sell all the Google shares pronto!".
  • *yawn* (Score:4, Funny)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:15AM (#12577705) Homepage Journal
    Company CEO says competitor will die. Film at 11.

    Really, it's the job of PR to predict that the competition will go away.
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:18AM (#12577742)
    Many once dominant companies have slipped in the face of Microsoft's monopolistic control of the PC desktop. Did these companies make mistakes? Sure. But was Microsoft flawless in its products and execution? No! What enabled MS to dominate was not technological superiority in an innovation or performance sense, but control of a platform.

    If a company controls a platform where compatibility with that platform is essential/valued, then that company has a massive advantage against any other potential competitor. Unless PC-compatibility becomes unnecessary, Google will join the ranks of companies such as Lotus, Apple, Palm, Netscape, and IBM.
    • Unless PC-compatibility becomes unnecessary, Google will join the ranks of companies such as Lotus, Apple, Palm, Netscape, and IBM.
      Apple and IBM? Google will join the ranks of successful technology companies? No way!
    • by yagu (721525) <yayagu.gmail@com> on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:44AM (#12578090) Journal
      Sure. But was Microsoft flawless in its products and execution? No! What enabled MS to dominate was not technological superiority in an innovation or performance sense, but control of a platform.

      I think the big (and dangerous to Microsoft) difference here and now is that Microsoft feels that "control of a platform" slipping from their grasp. They've lost good will from almost everyone, they no longer dominate because the Web is way too distributed for them to control by old techniques. I really think they are showing more fear now, and they turn to saying bad things (unprovable things, untrue things) about the rest of the competitive world hoping to gain purchase on their stranglehold that way. The world will end up being a better place all around if they finally lose that dominance.

  • by ttys00 (235472) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:19AM (#12577750)
    With Microsoft being in a dubious position at the moment (Longhorn delayed, Linux and OpenOffice becoming more of a threat to its cash cows etc), of course Ballmer is going to try and distract people by making them look for problems elsewhere.

    Student: Why should I work for MS given the problems Microsoft is currently facing?
    Ballmer: [pulling a monkey out of his pocket] Here, look at the monkey. Look at the silly monkey! [student's head explodes]
  • by BadElf (448282) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:21AM (#12577787)
    This whole attitude of "winner take all" is why people are switching from Microsoft to other technologies. Who wants to be locked into a solution owned by a company with a take-no-prisoners attitude? Like the universe isn't big enough for Microsoft AND Google to co-exist? Ballmer is just full of shit.

    And if he'd shut up long enough to listen to his customers and got his army of programmers and developers to focus on their CORE business -- OPERATING SYSTEMS -- maybe they'd have a decent product. But what the hell do I know?

    I know that a big part of my job is to CHOOSE platforms for my clients' systems, and guess what? Haven't done a MS install in two years. Not because I'm a Linux fanatic, but because I weigh silly things like uptime, scalability, usability, compatability and a bunch of other "bilities".

    If MS wants to go into the search business and has the balls to think they've got what it takes to be the Google-killer, more power to them. Have at it. Just give me a little of what they're smoking in the boardroom.
  • by drteknikal (67280) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:22AM (#12577794) Homepage
    It used to be that Microsoft might be late, or misguided, but they didn't used to lean on fear as much. First Bill dissing the iPod, now Steve dissing Google's future.

    Bill himself once told me that when Microsoft was taken out by a competitor -- something he always assumed will happen -- it wouldn't be a big company like IBM or Sun, but some little company you haven't ever heard of. Well, I hadn't heard of Google then (they didn't exist), but it seems odd for them to start pointing at market leaders like Apple and Google and talking about implosions. If they're worried about the big players now, Bill's vision has changed, or this is all just a marketing smokescreen.

    I'm betting on smokescreen, but it portends a level of fear within Microsoft that's higher than I'd thought.
  • by wandazulu (265281) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:32AM (#12577922)
    ...And completely wrong about the outcome. Google has one product: data. They are more akin to something like Lexis/Nexis or Westlaw than Microsoft, I think. The thing that makes Google so much cooler is that they also provide good tools to help your data in different ways, like desktop search. Even gmail is just "data"...that you use it to send and receive data is really of no consequence to them, and it's added convience (and value) to you.

    Add to it that they sell appliances that can sift and find info on your network, and you've got a winning business strategy for taming the data beast, which as we all know, is growing faster than anything else.

    Microsoft is freaked because they're part of the problem, and not the solution: it's their Excel/Word/Outlook files that are being searched (as well as every other type of file supported), and they "just-don't-think-that's-right(tm)", because they can't do it themselves and also. To add to the list of sins committed against microsoft by google, they treat all data pretty much equally...a pdf, word document, html file is just the repository of the data being searched.
    "How dare you, google, equate our big fat word docs with a simple html page or *gasp* pdfs!"
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:35AM (#12577951) Homepage Journal
    Anyone remember...
    AMC
    Eastern Airlines
    Data General
    Control Data
    DEC
    Cray
    Digital Research
    Douglas Aircraft
    Wright Aircraft Engines
    Atari
    Commodore
    Or even shrink like Zilog.

    Frankly Microsoft is scared. Only one company in the microcomputer world has survived going to a new CPU. That is Apple. It is really looking like the X86 cpu is reaching the end of it's life. Intel is in big trouble since it really does have most of it's eggs in that basket. Look at what Microsoft choose for the XBox 360. Why have .net unless you are planing on leaving the X86 line? Even as far back as NT Microsoft was going multi platform.
    When the X86 is no longer the common denominator and people NEED to buy new software to use the new systems to their full potential will Microsoft loose it's lock in?
    • by greed (112493)

      It is really looking like the X86 cpu is reaching the end of it's life.

      While I'm not a fan of the X86 architecture in general, or any of the chips in particular, it is important to keep in mind that what modern X86es have with earlier X86 chips is mainly the instruction stream.

      AMD has shown how you can add new registers to an X86 chip while preserving execution compatibility for classic IA32 code. They also added 64-bit registers and instructions while preserving the 32-bit environment (much like S

  • FUD Alert!!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by el_womble (779715) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:37AM (#12577976) Homepage
    One hit wonder?
    1. Google Seach: hit
    2. gMail: hit
    3. Desktop Search: hit
    4. Google News: hit
    And thats just the stuff thats out of beta. I'm already using Google Mobile and Maps. They're trusted by geeks and Joe Six Pack alike and look like their about to have another hit with they're caching system. 5 years? One hit wonders? FUD FUD FUD FUD FUD
  • by SoupIsGood Food (1179) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:39AM (#12578019)
    Google's business model is simple:

    1)Create an enormous webserver cluster using cheap hardware and cheaper (free) software.

    2) Then think of clever things to do with it.

    Step 3, instead of being ???, is "sell non-annoying text ads aligned with the context of what the user is viewing."

    4) Profit!

    Parts one, three and four are easy. Part Two is hard... really, really hard. Unsurprisingly, it's where Google is throwing the lion's share of their money and manpower. They foster a spirit and culture of top-tier creativity.

    This culture has been crushed into line-toeing, bootlicking mediocrity by Microsoft management. They're great for incremental updates in line with whatever upper-management mandate Bill has in mind this year and aping what smaller competitors are doing, but they suck at breaking new ground.

    So, MSFT will always be a step behind in a game Google engineered to reward only those who can think new things first. Even if Microsoft manages to invent or buy a new idea, Google will come up with a way of making it faster, cheaper, safer and more powerful. It's what they did to Microsoft's Hotmail.

    SoupIsGood Food

  • by webzombie (262030) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:41AM (#12578053)
    It doesn't surprise me that Steve and Bill feel compelled to lash out at anyone who is doing better then they every did. And it must really piss them off that Google's and Apples iPOD successes sprang from originality and real innovation... the not extend, embrace and buyout method M$ has relied on for it's "innovation" for last few decades.

    XBox360 Smoke and Mirrors!

    Ballmer obviously didn't get the memo from the XBox360 boys about the problems they were having getting those Apple G5s to fit into that tiny little XBox360 case. Here a couple of photos that proof what's really powering those XBox360 videos and more importantly game demos... and it ain't in the case M$ has been showing everyone. Hell the damn thing isn't even plugged in!
    http://www.talksudbury.com/forums/index.php?showto pic=381 [talksudbury.com]
  • by eno2001 (527078) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:00AM (#12578312) Homepage Journal
    Where is this kind of bullshit coming from? Sure Google has their little "Don't be evil" motto, but that's clearly tongue-in-cheek. To me, Ballme sounds more like a little bully who is trying to save face after losing one battle by making fun of his opponent. Or even more to the point, it's real easy to imagine Homer Simpson standing in for Ballmer saying that same exact thing in his mocking tone of voice.

    The point is that Microsoft is late to the search engine game as they were late to the web browser game. They clearly have an edge with their OS monopoly and could use the same tactics they did with Netscape. But, this isn't just about search engines now. With Google expanding into mail, price comparisons, news aggregation, online book searches, maps and usenet news in searchable format, MS has a lot to catch up with. Of course, they are going to publicize their search tools the most since most people in the mainstream are only aware of Google as a search engine and are only now coming around to GMail.

    Where Google needs to be careful is in how the average user percieves web seraches. Most mainstream users are not aware of the difference between a web page and an application. For example, I migrated my parents over from Windows to Linux two years ago and they haven't looked back. They are typical users with nearly no computer experience except for what they saw me do as I grew up. My dad was very surprised to see the Google search engine (their default home page in Firefox) on his Linux box when he first logged in. He said, "You mean Google can run on Linux"? Which illustrates my point perfectly.

    It's apparent that Microsoft is going to package search capabilities into their next version of Windows. That search will be a local application with web searching abilities. I'm expecting it to actually be embedded into IE as a subset of the OS like many other IE components are This is going to mean that the performance and functionality is going to appear much faster when compared to a web tool like Google. Google should really make it clear to users that they are using a remote tool when searching the internet. But... if they built their own browser (maybe based on Firefox or in partnership with Firefox), they could build in search functionality in the same way the IE will likely have it. This could result in a more seamless experience with Google web vs. Google Desktop.
  • by AIXadmin (10544) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:12AM (#12578510) Homepage
    Now that Pinky and I have been hired by Microsoft will finally take over the world!
  • There is a fine and long history of predicting the demise of rivals and this prediction by Microsoft has less credibility than Khrushchev's prediction. Khrushchev had nukes, Ballmer has Windows. Credibility point goes to the man with the nukes. Although it should be noted that the Soviet Union is no more. It has ceased to be. It has gone to join the Choir eternal. The point being that the prediction business is really best left to the fortune cookies and not to envious shoe pounding despots with ipod envy.
  • Ironic... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ghengis (73865) <.seluR.XINx. .ta. .SIRaLwoLS.> on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:23AM (#12578715) Homepage Journal
    I wonder how much more life Ballemer has breathed into Google by simply making these statements. There are quite a few people out there who will now be eager for google to survive for no other reason than proving Ballmer wrong.
  • by noewun (591275) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:25AM (#12578757) Journal
    When the CEO starts publicly trash-talking rivals it's not a good sign.
  • by houghi (78078) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:27AM (#12578788)
    They might very soon sue Google, because Google is a Monopoly in the search engine world or at least on its way to become one.
  • High Growth (Score:4, Insightful)

    by floorpie (20816) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:41AM (#12578988) Homepage
    The real concern I have with Google's future is not technical, but social. They've grown to around 3000 employees in the past few years... a huge rate by any measure, and the thing is no company can survive that kind of growth without some extremely talented/clairvoyent management.

    If you've read the Tipping Point by Malcom Blackwell, you'd know that there's a magic number of 150 people in any sort of group. It's the point where the human brain stops being able to remember the (150 choose 2) different individual relationships.

    Google is probably superior technically, but no matter how many brainiacs they have, they're still human and the human brain is going to run up to these limitations. As much as slashdotters will hate to admit it, Google's future really does depend on how good the management is.
  • by advocate_one (662832) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @11:21AM (#12579487)
    and that's to deliberately go out of their way to bork any queries sent to google from IE and to mangle the layout of the returned data... and if that doesn't work, to deliberately rewrite the returned pages to use MSN adverts whose keywords match the search terms and dump the google ads.

    It will be dirty... but with a tame DOJ, they can hold off Google's lawyers long enough for Google to go under.

  • by hkb (777908) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @11:31AM (#12579598)
    Before you mark me as a troll, go read my previous comments where I stick up for Microsoft dozens of times.

    1.) Classic example of FUD.

    2.) Ballmer and Alchin are absolutely morons with little clue of what customers actually want and where technology is heading.

    3.) Google succeeds in the market because they innovate and provide tools users really want to use.

    4.) Microsoft (mainly) succeeds mainly because they're business-savvy and good at FUD. Not for their tools. Not for their "innovations".

    5.) BTW, did anyone catch that MS guy discussing tabs in IE7 and subtely trying to intimate that they got the browser tab idea from their previous Office products and that they thought it'd be cool in web browsers, too?

    Typical MS corporate bullshit, which hurts their engineering and hurts their engineering customers.

    Unfortunately, this masks the significant capabilities and tools put out by some of their remarkable engineering teams.

  • by metamatic (202216) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @11:45AM (#12579758) Homepage Journal
    Ballmer said: "The hottest company right now -- the one nobody thinks can do any wrong -- may just be a one-hit wonder."

    "As opposed to us--we're a two-hit wonder. Sure, Xbox is a distant third in the worldwide console market, SQL server is way behind DB2 and Oracle, WinCE hasn't been a hit, Windows Server is just a small fragment of the Internet server market, Exchange can't even fight off Lotus Notes successfully, WebTV crashed and burned, nobody used Passport, Bob was a laughing stock, Windows for Pen Computing died, Tablet PC is struggling to survive, everyone uses MP3 instead of WMA, iPod still rules the MP3 player market, and our popular mouse design was just a rebadged HP mouse... but back in the 90s we created Microsoft Office and put DOS/Windows on the desktop! That's two hits! Which gives us 100% more wonder than Google!"

  • by beforewisdom (729725) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @12:00PM (#12579927)
    I don't know. Steve Ballmer is not a young man anymore. It doesn't look like he takes care of his health much either.

    In 5 years he might not be around either.

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

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