It’s Google vs. Microsoft Titanomachy

The gods of Greek mythology spent a substantial part of their days hammering the celestial daylight out of each other. The ‘Clash of the Titans’ (and I am not referring to the 1981 mega-schlock), in Greek -“Titanomachy”, actually involved a coup d’etat of sorts, in which the original 12 titans were overthrown by new deities, known as the Olympians.

The somnambular, camp, Hollywood version is probably a major contributor to the cliched use of the title ‘Clash of the Titans’ whenever two large bodies (in politics, commerce, entertainment or sports) square off.

Google and Microsoft – two of the IT industry’s behemoth – have been arm wrestling for some time now. Increasingly, Google muscled-in on MS territory. It appears likely that the two will face each other in an almighty brawl (imagine media in ruptures with banner headlines like “It’s Electronic Armageddon!”.) The bottom line rests on the fact that Microsoft charge hefty fees for their operating systems (various flavours of Windows) with an additional pound of flesh for one’s staple-diet applications, such as email, calendar /scheduler, word processor, spreadsheet, database and presentation application.

Google has been moving to offer these applications (Calendar / scheduler , word processor, email client, spreadsheet and database) for free. The beauty of Google’s thinking is that, eventually, it will become practically irrelevant which operating system or browser we use, since the system is Web-resident! Soon, an overwhelming portion of Microsoft’s revenue will disappear. This, presumably, may push the Seattle-based giants to put up a monumental war of survival, although it is difficult to see what they can do to stem the tide.

I, for one, will not shed any tears over Microsoft’s Titanic fall. Microsoft has been the only kid on the block for too long. The pricing philosophy they implemented reflected the almost total monopoly the company holds: when you buy a PC, you’re likely to have Windows pre-installed. Otherwise, a copy of Microsoft Vista Home Basic Upgrade will set you back R1400, the ‘full Monty’ version costs an additional R2000.

Should you want to add basic Office facilities, be prepared to pay anything from R2700 to R5000 – with a special deal for students for R1700.  This outrageous, up-yours-sweetheart attitude faces a powerful challenge from Google. When this happens, I intend watching the Crash of the Titans and offer the Googlympians a heart-felt Mexican wave.

Care to join me?