The difference between Google and Microsoft

May be an impression of mine, but I think that someone is starting to see Google as the new Microsoft: too much power in too few hands.

I’m not interested in the defence of Google, but there is a really big difference between the two: Google wins through real innovation, Microsoft through well-known not-so-good practices. In a certain sense, Google is earning its success, and deserves it, in the opposite way as Microsoft, which stole (and continues to steal) its predominant position using illegal commercial tecniques: Microsoft is a monopolist that american government thought to split, and it has not done it yet because of a lot of political lobbying and the neo-con Bush, who is personally interested in helping big corporations. Google proposed itself as something new from the start, Microsoft proposed always things that where old the day they come out (remember DOS, Windows pre-NT, and every other application that, until recently, were buggy or lack significant features that competitor had?)

Take the always-good example of Internet Explorer: even today, it is an old-style browser (as it always has been) but it the most used in the world. Why? Because it is included with the monopolist Operating System, and Microsoft did not have to run with others for many years on the browser market: it was not the best browser, but strangely it become the (almost) the only one. Now that Firefox is in the wild, strangely Microsoft announced IE 7, with many features that are already old, but were not introduces in IE before.

That is not to say “Google is a good boy”, but it seems to me that Google is trying to be a good boy, and this is all we can expect from human beings.