In today’s Sunday Business section, one will find a long article about Google’s “cloud computing” strategy. Google is betting that consumers and businesses will move from being chained to one’s desktop to a more flexible internet-based system of working.
cartoon by Tom Bower
With the proliferation of mobile internet tools, and the fact that one will increasingly rely a handful of devices, rather than one desktop computer, Google’s direction seems logical. But Microsoft scoffs at such an approach.
“It’s, of course, totally inaccurate compared with where the market is today and where the market is headed,” says Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft’s business division, which includes the Office products.
To Mr. Raikes, the company’s third-longest-serving executive, after Mr. Gates and Mr. Ballmer, the Google challenge is an attack on Microsoft that is both misguided and arrogant. “The focus is on competitive self-interest; it’s on trying to undermine Microsoft, rather than what customers want to do,” he says.
Microsoft, Mr. Raikes notes, has spent years and billions of dollars in product development and customer research, studying in minute detail how individual workers and companies use software. What they want, he says, is the desktop programs and features of Microsoft Office, and the proof is in the marketplace. “I mean, we have more than 500 million people who are using Microsoft Office tools,” he says.
Raikes statement seems off to me. I can’t help but think he sounds like an old school ad exec saying, “But we make a shit load of money producing television commercials.”
He claims that Google is arrogant and misguided, but I wouldn’t toss those particular words around when they could so easily be applied to his own situation.