Microsoft, Salesforce.com and Google, OH MY!
One of the things I love most about the high tech industry is that it is never boring! There is always some new kid on the block trying to dethrone the current champ.
Once upon a time IBM was king and they decided to get into the then mom and pop business of the personal computer. They wanted to do this quickly and cheaply and since, thought IBM, the personal computer business was one reserved for geeks and nerds it would never be that big — what they hey, just partner your way into the space.
So IBM made a deal with a young guy who hadn’t even finished college. They bought some programming languages from him, and when the deal for an operating system fell through they let this guy scramble to find one to sell to them. The “guy” of course was Bill Gates, and the little operating system (Microsoft Disk Operating System, aka MS-DOS) was sellable by Gates to others and so soon Microsoft was a major force to behold.
One thing that has always appealed to be about Bill Gates (and I come out of the AT&T UNIX open systems model, so this is almost heresy to say) is his paranoia. Bill Gates realized what he had done to IBM and that someone could come along and do it to him. Thus when Xerox invented the GUI (graphical user interface) but did not exploit it, along came Steve Jobs and he introduced the Lisa — a little proprietary PC with a graphical interface.
Bill Gates took notice of the Lisa, and what came next — the Mac! Before you knew it along comes Microsoft Windows. Yeah, Windows was clunky and bug ridden, but here we are now at Windows 7 and Bill Gates’ paranoia was right.
Gates was almost always right!
It was Gates’ paranoia that got Microsoft to embed an Internet web browser into the operating system. They got sued by various governments for monopolistic tendencies for bundling the browser in the operating system — but Gates knew that long term if Microsoft did not have a huge share of the browser world they would eventually lose the operating system business as well. The Internet would put applications and information in the network (which AT&T foresaw back in 1985 — I was with AT&T Computer Systems back then and the vision their is reality now, but alas not with AT&T in the game).
So what is the latest salvo in the war? The two behemoths now are Microsoft and Google — and dare we say that Google is already winning the war? Google has an operating system on cell phones (the Android) which is giving the Apple iPhone a run for it’s money. Many pundits say that within a few years most of us will be cruising the Internet with our cell phones not our PCs. With the advent of the iPad (awesome, if you haven’t seen them) your books, keyboards, browsing, etc. can all be done on a little tablet. For Apple, still proprietary after all these years, the OS (operating system) is the iPhone OS, not the PC OS. Google’s Android will soon be on iPad clones coming in from China.
Oh yes, the major victors are about to change again.
So why mention Salesforce.com in the headline? Salesforce.com is a leading CRM (customer relationship management) software vendor. They use a SaaS (software as a service, not a CD you buy) model and have done very, very well. Microsoft recently sued Salesforce.com for nine patent infringements.
Now the rumor is that Google may buy Salesforce.com! Read this article in InfoWorld.
See what I mean about how interesting this industry is? I swear it is better than watching soap operas!