Microsoft Hoping To 'Cloud' The Competition

Dennis Faas's picture

In 1995, Microsoft attempted to fend off their ever-increasing rival companies by adding a free web browser to their brand new operating system, Windows 95. This effort was effectively blocked by several court rulings and the subject was never spoken of again.

Over a decade later, Microsoft is giving the strategy one more try by offering free software that connects their current brand new operating system, Windows Vista, to software services delivered over the Internet. (Source:

This practice is not uncommon in the technological world and is often referred to as "cloud" computing. Microsoft wishes to implement this process to effortlessly connect Windows to a growing number of Internet services.

The idea of cloud computing is a relatively new concept for Microsoft. The company has always sold their software in packages or bundles to be used on personal computers. Only now is Microsoft seeing the benefits of cloud computing, because the process will ensure that their software customers are shielded from competitors like Google and, who both offer software applications over the Internet. (Source:

The most apparent clouding effort for Microsoft can be seen in the latest Windows Live software suite. The set of software and services includes an updated email program, a photo-sharing application and writing tools designed for those who keep web logs and journals.

Many analysts believe that the new Windows Live is a strong indication that Microsoft is ready to compete head-on against Google. While significantly disadvantaged in the search-engine business, Microsoft will attempt to out-manoeuvre Google by becoming the dominant digital curator of all user information, whether stored on a personal computer, mobile device or on the Internet. (Source:

Millions who own a personal computer are already reliant on web applications that store data or provide a service. Yahoo and Google currently do their own forms of cloud computing, offering popular email programs and photo-sharing sites that are accessible through a web browser. The emails or photos are then stored onto the company servers and is accessible by the user from any computer or laptop in the world. Analysts believe that Google initialized the cloud computing battle with Microsoft, by first offering a suite of free word-processing and spreadsheet software over a browser. Microsoft is counting on its ability to exploit a vast base of more than one billion Windows-installed personal computers. The company plans to give away some of their services, like photo-sharing and disk-storage, while charging for others like computer security. (Source:

Whether clouding will give Microsoft the edge in combating Google remains to be seen.

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