net.Google considers Microsoft it main competitor, and for good reason.
Yahoo! might be a larger search provider than MSN, the company is distinctly trying to be a media company (in 1999 you would say: portal) while Google is taking a technology approach.
Microsoft meanwhile is pumping billions of dollars into its Live Software initiative and MSN Search engine. Billions should make anyone nervous.
Google therefore has started to lobby the EU and US government, asking them to prevent Microsoft from 'bundling' its MSN Search service with the Internet Explorer browser. Because having the engine set as the default give Microsoft an unfair advantage, Google alleges.
So far Google has statistics working against it: it owns more than 40 per cent of the online search market in the US, while Internet Explorer makes up about 85 per cent of the browsers.
Microsoft however is starting to more closely integrate its online and offline services. Where hotmail for instance used to be an online service only, users soon will be able to access the service from their desktops.
Google in the mean time is believed to be working on a hosted word processor that would be an obvious Word contender.
If Microsoft bundles the Hotmail client and Word with Windows, Google knows that it's products have no chance of making more than a dent in Microsoft's market share. So it's better to keep the threat of Microsoft's bundling power alive now, before that memories of the Netscape slaughter have faded away.
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