Microsoft at the Tipping Point ?

September 28, 2009
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The reaction to Google’s Chrome Frame has been most interesting. Often the IT trade press is very circumspect about commenting on Microsoft because Microsoft may be a major advertiser. But the commentary has been very wide about the implications of Google’s Chrome Frame on Redmonds software development [especially Web programs]. It reminds this reviewer of the reactions of the pundits to IBM’s OS2 and other PC software versus Microsoft back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The murmurings then were that a)IBM was always protecting its mainframe monopoly and b) Microsoft was just outright out-engineering IBM which was too stodgy in its interfaces. the question of Google out-engineering has been previously raised by the lean, fast and secure ChromeOS versus the do-all Windows 7 has been delayed by the alpha status of ChromeOS. But not so Chrome and its plugin version Chrome Frame which is avaialable now and does dramatically speed up the IE browser.
Here is some of the coverage in the trade press on the implications of the Google Chrome Frame plugin that not only makes IE more W3C Web standards compliant [hooray, say developers] but also speeds up all versions of IE by a notable factor. Judge what you think of the experts reactions. Has Microsoft reached the tipping point where its Web software is found deficient because a)it is being bested by a wide margin by Google Chrome but also by implication by other browsers from Apple, Mozilla, Opera and others which track Chrome features and performance much better; b)it is protecting its Windows monopoly by shortchanging IE and other Web software; c)it is being protected by outmoded external users’ organizational policies that require using IE:

Ars Technica – Microsoft: Google Chrome Frame makes IE less secure
Business Week – Google Finds way to put Chrome into Internet Explorer
CNET – Microsoft bashes Google’s Chrome-in-IE plan
CNET – IE slips further as Firefox, Safari, Chrome gain
Computerworld – Google barks back at Microsoft over Chrome Frame security
ComputerWorld – Google plugin puts Chrome in IE browser
Digital Trends – Google Polishes Up Internet Explorer with Chrome Frame
eweek – Google Chrome Plug-in Paves the Way for Google Wave
Gizmodo – “Up Yours” Microsoft: IE is Now Powered by Google Chrome
Information Week – You Got Chrome In My Internet Explorer
Takethe5th – Microsoft Chromed by Google
Techworld – IE 8 runs ten times faster with Google Chrome plug-in
TheInquirer – Microsoft gets defensive about Google Chrome Frame
TheRegister - Microsoft Howls as IE is turned into Chrome


The consensus among the pundits is that a)Google Chrome Frame is improving IE performance and c)a few reviewers see organizational policy holding back any browser upgrade including the Chrome Frame plugin. But very few see IE’s tardiness and performance gap as a boon to Windows. Finally, there are hints of a tipping point with respect to Google out-engineering Microsoft on the Web. See this related ZDNet article on ChromOS. But no one sees a definitive tipping point in favor of Google or any other vendor [think Apple] yet.

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