Saturday, February 02, 2008

Microsoft's Yahoo Buzz

I have been pretty much following the possibility of Microsoft's Yahoo acquisition. I was reading this article here where experts are discussing how this can impact Microsoft and more, the culture in the Silicon Valley. It is indeed interesting how a three decade old company Microsoft and a decade old Yahoo seem to be succumbing to much less than a decade old Internet computing leader of today Google! As the article aptly describes,
"It (Google) has unleashed the power of free — not a new idea for the Valley — to endear itself to a new generation of computer users with services they find they cannot live without, like e-mail, digital video and social networking."

I couldn't have agreed more! To me today, "I can spend a month on green salads only but not without gmail / orkut / youtube !"

I don't understand much of business or the kind of speculations that are being made by people about how such a big acquisition might impact the innovation structure in the Silicon Valley. But I do understand the concern for Microsoft.

Microsoft has never been ahead of coming up with the "next cool thing", rather have often re-done things already existent before (compare Vista to Mac, for example). And the reason they are one of the biggest companies today is definitely because of their wide array of licensed software!

However, I know people in Microsoft and Yahoo Research; and ironically most of the people in their Research Labs are one of the smartest people in those areas today! Google paradoxically doesn't have a research lab, which they say they integrate with their main modules. This is probably partly true; because being in my research area, we know that Microsoft and Yahoo Research do much starter things (thinking ahead 10 years say) than what Google does!

Nevertheless, the picture is completely reversed in the market! Google is the leader of the "next cool thing" in Internet computing; be it emails, multimedia management, social networking and undoubtedly search.

The observations are pretty interesting. We in research / academics often consider the key to success is to have smart people doing smart things which are look ahead, at least five years from now. However, this smart man power is not enough for Microsoft or Yahoo to succeed! Google with great programmers and their search tool capital are ready to take much bigger strides into the software industry today. They know that acquiring a potential start-up doing an innovative thing is much smarter than acquiring a dead giant like Yahoo. And with their increasing automatically generative user data profiles, Google can probably dictate several cool things in the coming years which we, in academics, despite knowing them much ahead of time, haven't really been able to strike due to limited availability of gigs of user data!

1 comment:

Tech Monster said...

Correct! Infact many in industry believe so. Microsoft has never been technologically innovative unlike google which has done well without a consecratory R & D. Even google agrees that this hostile takeover poses a threat to industry and they have assailed severely in this blog