This has been a big week for Microsoft. Halo Reach (I've almost finished it!) and IE9 hit the market reminding us all just how cool great software can be for an aspect of your life. For IE9, it's hard to add anything new to the coverage except to say I am really proud of our engineering effort and the sleek design. I believe we have another winner on our hands ! Most of the reviews I've read seem to settle on word like: "Lean", "Mean", "Fast" & "Cool". Go check it out if you haven't already. www.beautyoftheweb.com
It's a Browser, Who Cares?
Yesterday I was chatting with a friend who remarked "It's just a browser, aren't they all the same?" This seemed like a simple enough question and since he's not a technophile, I had to assume millions of others might be asking themselves that same question. The web has dramatically changed over the last decade (richer content types, faster CPU/GPU, broadband, social, devices etc.) which put stresses on the v1 & v2 browser technologies. We solved this as an industry with Add-ons like ActiveX, ShockWave, WAP, SilverLight, Flash et al which allowed users to experience more than pure HTML pages from one access point.
There are still many valid reasons to have more than one way to skin a cat. It's all software and as I've said before the cloud is a huge leap but it's not magic. Code still gets written, servers still live somewhere (albeit more efficiently) and users still have a wide array of needs and desires. NET: We all care because usage is changing and without a way to present the new canvas of the web, it might be akin to being in 1950's and putting a new TV on a painters easel. An odd metaphor but germaine for how the original context for one way of communication may not translate immediately into another.
Ironically, we are now getting TV's so thin that we hang them in our living rooms like....paintings. The lesson is world's do come together.
Microsoft's Reason for a New Browser
For Microsoft, IE9 allows the best web experience possible for Window's users around the world, full stop. That's the goal. Ina Fried had a great interview with Steven Sinofsky, President of Windows Division on her Beyond Binary blog where he shares some more insights. We are very proud about the fact we build great software and Win7/IE9 and soon to be Windows Phone 7 deliver innovation, awesome design and really great experiences for end users. For enterprises we believe Azure, BPOS, Dynamics, SQL et al. also give phenomenal experiences in the workplace. As we sometimes say we go from the Media Center to the Data Center. Our revenues come from primarily from selling software which is our motivation for making great software. If our software isn't good, you don't buy it and we make less money. Pretty straightforward.
Google's Reason for a New Browser
Google's entrance to the browser market with Google Chrome is an interesting case study for the company. I'll admit the Chrome viral video was cool. Anytime I get to see a potato gun and a tesla coil in a video is worth my time. Chrome has good design and is fast as well. PC World's article "IE9 Has Google Chrome on the Run" was interesting as it really only featured comments from Google engineers. In essence, until now Google has claimed to have the high ground on graphics acceleration. But as the IE9 developers blog outlines, there is a difference between IE9's Full and Chrome's Partial acceleration.
However, in my opinion Chrome represents something else entirely. With 97% of their revenues from Search and Advertising , they are uniquely incented to keep priming the pump of their hungry beast. (funny video below). Software in any form factor for them appears to be a way for them to control the user experience to make money with advertising. By keeping user sessions/clicks traveling through their data centers means clicks drive data, data drives usage, usage drives ads which drive.....clicks. Hmmm....
- The first Androids required a Gmail account to even start the phone? Gmail has ads.
- Maps started having push pins? To sell ads for business.
- Street Maps started hoovering up data packets and pictures galore? Sell Ads.
- Google 411 on the go? Yes, mobile Ads are coming.
- Google Apps can turn on Ads? Ads in the workplace.
- Gmail for Education & Alumni (who now have a salary)? Serve them ads.
- you get the picture.
So maybe their CEO is right when he says if you don't want somebody knowing what you are doing, don't do it on the internet.