I'm reading Paul Festa's story in CNET how Google is under-technologizing Microsoft.
About ten years ago, I came to understand that Microsoft gained its monopoly by two methods. One of the methods was revealed through its court case with the US Department of Justice: Microsoft forced hardware makers to only pre-install DOS and, later, Windows on their computers.
The other method was more subtle, and did not come up in the famous court case. I came across the tactic during my participation in the VRML [virtual reality markup language] mailing list. The mailing list was looking for a specification to define version 2 of VRML.
Microsoft proposed an all-encompassing file format that integrated 3D graphics with movies and sound and several kitchen sinks. The format was complex, and was overwhelmingly rejected by voters.
Here's the monopoly tactic: Microsoft takes something simple, like Basic and VRML, and turns it into a complex format that is no longer accessible to low-end users. Instead, programmers have to use API toolkits, purchased from Microsoft, to accomplish the task. Once tied into Microsoft's APIs, it becomes too expensive to switch to toolkits from Borland or the open source movement. Once tied into Microsoft APIs, the Microsoft monopoly is extended.
(Here at upFront.eZine Publishing, I avoid using Microsoft software as much as possible. My email is Eudora; my Web browser is Opera; my word processor is Atlantis; my spreadsheet is OpenOffice; and the list goes on. Only the operating system is from Microsoft, because my living is writing about CAD software, most of which is locked into the Microsoft monopoly.)
So I was pretty pleased that Google has figured out how to get out from the Microsoft monopoly simply by not falling for newer, more complex technology treadmill. Here's what Mr Festa wrote:
"Start-ups and industry giants such as Microsoft continue to devise newfangled systems for delivering desktop-like applications over the Web. But search giant Google has taken a different path, using older technology to build its newest applications such as Google Maps and Gmail.
"The interest isn't driven by some dot-com nostalgia. Proponents argue that these older technologies are good enough to do the job and that support for them is already embedded in common Web browsers."
"If technology that works in the current generation of Web browsers is indeed good enough for powerful, scalable Web-based applications, that could result in reduced demand for everything from Laszlo Systems' tools, Macromedia's Flash and Flex-based offerings, Sun Microsystems' Java-based applications, and for Microsoft's planned system based on XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language) and Avalon graphics."
Anything that create less demand for Microsoft products is fine with me.
Microsoft, unaware of how it broadcasts it monopolistic mindset, is contemptuous of thsoe who fail to purchase its latest software: "It's a little depressing that developers are just now wrapping their heads around these things we shipped in the late 20th century," said Charles Fitzgerald, Microsoft's general manager for platform technologies. "This other stuff is very kludgy, very hard to debug."