Clash Of The Internet Titans

Our View: Increased Competition Between Microsoft, Google Is Good For Consumers

July 13, 2009

Of course, we all know who to cheer for when David challenges Goliath. But what happens when Goliath is staring down, say, a worldwide corporation that makes tens of billions of dollars a year?

In other words, whom do you root for in Microsoft vs. Google? Perhaps, at this point, we should simply cheer that there's any competition at all.

Through the years, it's become easy to mistrust Microsoft, a company that began as an upstart itself but now boasts a global market (an estimated 90 percent of the world's computers run on Windows) with products including operating systems, a cable television station, a gaming system and, most recently, a search engine, bing.com.

There have been antitrust lawsuits filed against Microsoft's business practices, which often squash competition, both in the U.S. and in Europe. Even the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation can't quite quell the feeling that Microsoft is a modern-day Standard Oil.

Meanwhile, Google has translated its search engine success into a growing number of Web-based services, including Google News; Gmail; Google Video; Google Maps; the controversial Google Books Library Project, in which universities from around the world have opened their libraries for Google to scan and compile; and a mobile phone operating system, Android.

Oh yeah, and they named their headquarters "Googleplex."

The two companies have gone head-to-head many times, with competing software, e-mail and instant messaging programs, and search engines. But Google's latest project, a new operating system called Chrome, due out next year, is a direct threat to Microsoft's bread-and-butter, the Windows empire.

Americans love a winner, except when they're rooting for the underdog. And in the ever-tightening race between Microsoft and Google, it's getting hard to tell which is which. But it's becoming apparent that it's going to take another monster corporation to keep either of these companies in check.

So bring on the competition, the innovation and (we hope) the lower prices. And when these two giants have cut each other down to size, maybe a true "little guy" can join the market - be it for search engines, software, operating systems or video games - to keep them that way.

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