As a Microsoft aficionado I’ve been watching with certain dismay as Google dominates the internet and competes with Microsoft on their various platforms (most notably mail and documents).

But the recent post I read about employees leaving Google for Microsoft and now the probe into the Google / Yahoo deal makes for an interesting insight into how even a company with the slogan of ‘do no evil’ must eventually act in ways that seem anti-competitive.

Some people may have noticed that Microsoft recently bought another search engine: Powerset, although this search engine in itself isn’t that great (it searches pretty obvious things, and no real page crawling) – it’s Microsoft trying to beef themselves up to try to take on a competitor that completely and unquestionably dominates the search market.

And it isn’t a question about technology, it is a question about Platform – everyone is talking about the cloud as the new software platform – but that isn’t necessarily true. Yes, many applications can be sucked into the cloud, but the Internet is essentially just another platform built on top of a platform, the hierarchy is quite obvious:

  1. Hardware
  2. OS (Windows / Linux / Mac OS)
  3. Browser (Microsoft / Mozilla / Apple)
  4. Browser-Level Scripting (Javascript / AJAX)
  5. Server-Level Languages
  6. Cloud Application

That’s a lot of backs to be standing on just to create ubiquitous applications.

I personally feel that applications like Google Gears and Adobe Air will bring about an interesting abstraction of the cloud / desktop interaction, but it will still run on an OS – a market that Microsoft is thoroughly dominant in.

Which explains why Google is so eager to get Android onto phones, because that is a software platform market that hasn’t been dominated by one player yet.

What can be clearly seen by this kind of behaviour is that Google is just like every other company, and seeks to maximise and dominate it’s market position without question.  After all – it’s competitiveness against Microsoft is completely funded by it’s search platform – the position would be untenable without the funding that their search advertising unit generates, it’s ciollabse or shrinking would produce a situation where ‘free’ isn’t so free after all…