From the market dominance to shrewd business practices, it's getting harder to tell the difference between the Microsoft and Google. Here are 10 reasons why Google is the new Microsoft.
6. Trust us
Believe it or not, Microsoft, not Google, was once seen as the big, scary technology company trying to steal your data. In 1999, Microsoft had to address suspicions that the National Security Agency had a backdoor into Windows that allowed the NSA to peek at users' encrypted data. Then, in 2001, Microsoft revealed a big plan for its Passport universal sign-in feature, which would store each user's name, password, address, email address and credit card credentials online to encourage people to shop on the web. The Passport plan was met with fierce opposition, however, because no one wanted to trust Microsoft with their data.
Today, Google is dealing with all kinds of privacy concerns over Google Street View's taking pictures of people's homes, Google's recent Wi-Fi sniffing snafu, the company's saving of search histories, the Google Buzz privacy breach, and on and on. And, oh yeah: Google has also had its fair share of accusations about dealings with the NSA.
7. Hooked on Googlesoft
Want to get people to use your stuff and forget about going with the competition? Just pile some basic tools into your platform that are handy and free. Microsoft first bundled Internet Explorer with Windows to battle Netscape. Other tools packed into Windows include MSN Messenger, WordPad, and integration with Hotmail - and who can forget MSN Explorer for that AOL-like experience? Google has taken Microsoft's free-software strategy to the extreme with Google Docs, Gmail, Google Translate, Google Voice, Calendar and Google Maps turn-by-turn navigation in Android. Google has also been accused of favouring its own products - such as Google Maps and YouTube - in its search results.
8. Competition crusher
A tweak in Google's algorithm can send online businesses reeling from a significant drop in web traffic. This is part of the reason the European Commission is looking into Google's search practices following antitrust complaints from sites such as price-comparison service Foundem and French law-related search tool eJustice. Microsoft's tactics, in its heyday, were far more aggressive: For example, the software giant was accused by RealNetworks of pressuring PC makers not to install RealNetworks software on Windows PCs by default. And IBM said Microsoft pressured manufacturers not to offer computers running IBM's OS/2 system.
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