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Will Google Subvert Microsoft's Dominant Paradigm?

Stories of $200 PC Run Rampant

Will Google co-founder Larry Page (on the right in the pic with co-founder Sergey Brin) announce a Microsoft-hostile $200 PC at the CES show in Las Vegas on Friday?

Speculation, backed by informed reporting in places such as the Los Angeles Times, is running rampant that this will be so. The speculation about this systems, which won't be running Windows and reportedly may be running home-brewed Google OS of some sort, is setting technology industry speculation into the highest gear it's seen since, uh, Google's IPO.

One analyst has emerged from the pack to make a bubblesque prediction of Google's stock going to $600 on the anticipated announcement. This in the teeth of year-end 2005 punditry that widely predicted a googlecrash in the company stock price this year.

Microsoft has clearly set its sights on Google (and mutual competitor Yahoo) recently, with vivid retelling of dire threats from Redmone CEO Steve Ballmer revealed in recent court documents relating to a former employee-related lawsuit. Microsoft runs a decided third place in the burgeoning search marketing and optimization market, but more important, sees Google as a threat to its long-held desktop dominance through search's potential to subvert the dominant paradigm.

Where it was relatively easy for Redmond to stamp out desktop application competitors a generation ago, and cut off the oxygen of Netscape when it tried to re-invent the desktop with its browser several years ago, it is generally accepted wisdom that Microsoft can't simply dominate search because it simply doesn't "own" the worldwide web the way it owned the operating system and related (or as Microsoft migh say, intrinsic) applications.

That said, the idea of Google going into the desktop OS business and PC hardware business simultaneously is a radical notion, one in its own way as radical as the emerging perception that Yahoo is becoming a movie producer.

If Page's speech on Friday does not reveal this earthshaking revelation, what will happen to Google in the short term, now that the expectations are so high? If he does reveal a $200 PC, though, what will be its prime importance? A tipping point to eliminate the desktop and laptop PC as we know it? A new consumer-oriented gadget? A way to empower less wealthy individuals and nations?

We're interested to see what you think. Let us know in as many (or as few) words as you wish!

(And by the way, it looks like Comdex is really dead, in the way that Franco is still dead. CES is now set to be the premier Las Vegas technology show for years to come. Let's hope its management keeps a level head, keeps its quality high, and treats its guests well!)

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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