Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fighting for Total Dominion

Trey Smith

If it wasn't so harmful, it would be funny: a marketing battle between the two technology giants Microsoft and Google over who lacks integrity and is exploitative. It's been going on for a while and with every thrust and block the thing becomes more grotesque and more revealing.

First, by way of introduction, don't need an introduction.

If you're using Windows, your computer lives Microsoft. If you don't, you use a Microsoft product (like Word or some smaller program you don't notice on your desktop) or someone sends you stuff using one. You can't escape MicroSoft if you use a computer.

Google is to your Internet life what Microsoft is to your workspace. Even if you don't use its increasingly popular Gmail program, you have used Google Search at some point. So prominent is our use of this resource that, in English, "google it" is now an accepted phrase. No, there is no Google-less life in this country.

So a marketing duel between these two fills the air with the very loud clanging of the very large swords.

The latest thrust is Microsoft's campaign about "Scroogle": a term that meshes Google and Screwed, or maybe "Scrooge" (since it launched around last Christmas). It also pilfers the name of an alternative search engine (Scroogle Search) that went belly up last year. If it didn't steal someone else's idea, after all, it wouldn't be Microsoft.

In December, Microsoft began denouncing Google's charging for better rankings in its "shopping" searches and telling people they should use Bing (Microsoft's search engine) instead. That's right, when you do a "shopping" search on Google, it returns a list of search items from companies that pay Google. The more they pay, the higher they are in the returned search. If you click it you can read Google's admission about taking filthy lucre in return for returning a good search position.
~ from Microsoft and Google's Pathetic, Revealing and Frightening War by Alfredo Lopez ~
As Lopez points out in this article, what borders on funny is the fact that behemoth Microsoft is trying to paint behemoth Google as a self-interested ogre. It is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black! This is not to say that Google is not an ogre; it is more that Microsoft is just as onerous in their own right. It would be like Paris Hilton calling out Britney Spears for being a camera hog.

And let's face it, both Microsoft and Google have become ubiquitous. Though I use Linux Mint as the operating system on my desktop computer, this blog is hosted on Google and I often download Microsoft Word documents (that I open and save with LibreOffice). In other words, it is hard to escape either one's tentacles.

Since both control so much of what each of us does in computing, why the big fight? Lopez provides the revealing answer.
The problem is that they have run out of life to control and so they are now fighting over the aspects of your life they already dominate and that they have increasingly limited.
You see, they desire absolute dominion. It's not enough to make millions or billions of dollars. It's not enough to control specific areas of turf. Both want to control the whole enchilada. They want every computer user to be forced to go through them and them alone. The only thing standing in their way is each other and so that is why they have gone to war.

Let's hope that neither of them wins or, even better, that they destroy each other.

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