Microsoft And Google In Glorious Donnybrook - InformationWeek

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Commentary
9/14/2005
02:21 AM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
Commentary
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Microsoft And Google In Glorious Donnybrook

I'm a lazy person. I work only as hard as I need to. When the news is breaking fast (or when the boss is looking), I hustle. When the news is quiet, and the boss is away, I kick back with my feet on the desk and enjoy the many pleasures of the Internet. If anybody asks me what I'm doing, I say, research. When asked what the Cats In Sinks site could possibly have to do with my job, I say: It's complicated. It's about the paradigm shift inherent in grid util

I'm a lazy person. I work only as hard as I need to. When the news is breaking fast (or when the boss is looking), I hustle. When the news is quiet, and the boss is away, I kick back with my feet on the desk and enjoy the many pleasures of the Internet.

If anybody asks me what I'm doing, I say, research.

When asked what the Cats In Sinks site could possibly have to do with my job, I say: It's complicated. It's about the paradigm shift inherent in grid utility computing and virtualization. Then I explain at great length until they go away.

Capitalism works because most people are about as hardworking as I am, which is to say, not very. When companies face competition, there's pressure to improve their products and services and cut costs. When companies have no competition, they kick back, get lazy, and think about ways to continue to suck money from their locked-in customer base.

That's why it's good for all of us for Google to be pounding the stuffing out of Microsoft recently. And why it's good for all of us for Microsoft to be pounding Google right back--which Microsoft did yesterday, as it won a temporary injunction barring ex-executive Kai-Fu Lee from heading up Google's new research labs in China.Even better for us: Microsoft's victory is incomplete; Lee can continue to recruit for Google.

Predictably, because both sides got something in this decision, they're both claiming victory, but Google is talking through its hat. If you hire a guy to do something for you, and the judge says he can't do it, you've lost, and it's only a consolation prize if the judge says it's OK if he does something else. Even if that something else is important.

The whole Microsoft/Google/Lee affair is a wonderful yarn, of a type that doesn't come up often enough in the computer industry. As an editor, I usually end up writing headlines like this one (picking a one at random): "Anti-Spyware Vendors Tag Ask Jeeves Software." That's a perfectly fine headline, but it's not, Court Documents: Microsoft's Ballmer Vowed To 'Kill' Google In Obscenity-Laden, Chair-Throwing Rant." Now that's a headline; I was actually laughing out loud as I wrote it. I mean, he was swearing! And ranting! And throwing chairs! I loved that headline so much I came in on my day off to write it.

I love seeing these guys suffer. The more they suffer, the harder they work to keep me as a customer. So let their lives be miserable.

But not so miserable that Google has to give up its gourmet chefs. I'm cruel, but I'm not inhumane.

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