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Google-Microsoft Crossfire Will Hit Consumers

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the why-i-wear-kevlar-when-searching dept.

Google 336

theodp writes "Newsweek's Dan Lyons doesn't know who will be the winner in Google and Microsoft's search battle, but that's not stopping him from picking a loser — consumers. As we head towards a world where some devices may be free or really cheap, consumers should prepare to be bombarded by ads or pay a premium to escape them. 'The sad truth is that Google and Microsoft care less about making cool products than they do about hurting each other,' concludes Lyons. 'Their fighting has little to do with helping customers and a lot to do with helping themselves to a bigger slice of the money we all spend to buy computers and surf the Internet. Microsoft wants to ruin Google's search business. Google wants to ruin Microsoft's OS business. At the end of the day, they both seem like overgrown nerdy schoolboys fighting over each other's toys.'"

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Business as usual (5, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#30261680)

The sad truth is that Google and Microsoft care less about making cool products than they do about hurting each other,' concludes Lyons. 'Their fighting has little to do with helping customers and a lot to do with helping themselves to a bigger slice of the money we all spend to buy computers and surf the Internet.

For anyone else joining the real world, enjoy your stay. A business making money? This is madness!

This seem to be just an another story of a Google fanboy in his basement discovering that their do-no-evil "friend" is a normal company, a normal business which purpose is to generate revenue. He hasn't yet understood that money doesn't grow in trees and this is how our economy works. For him Microsoft seems like a bad guy because they dare to sell products at a price. Google is the 'cool and hippy' friend who offers everything for free. And what he doesn't understand is that the revenue is just generated other way, and he loses her privacy to an advertisement company. Google is not a search engine company, it's an advertisement company that uses internet searching to 1) gather very detailed information and usage statistics about people all over the internet 2) sell targeted ads to advertisers.

It's unnecessary to blame the companies how it is. "Making cool products" and not caring about business sounds more like a public service or some teenagers naive thinking before he comes contact with the real world. Of course two competing companies are going to.. eh, compete. That's how it works, that's how they generate income, but that's also how they're always on a run to improve their products.

If there weren't competing companies, it would be a lot worse situation. Just look at how the adsl and cable internet is in USA. People pretty much have only one choice of operator, and it's shitty. In lots of European countries there's many competing ISP's and you get faster and better service.

At the end of the day, they both seem like overgrown nerdy schoolboys fighting over each other's toys.

They're the exact opposite. They're businesses that have a clean plan and understand what they are doing. Microsoft wants more marketshare on search, Google wants more users locked in to their services to keep their 70% marketshare. Oh, you though Google wants to fight for OS marketshare? Just see how limited Chrome OS is. It's designed to offer people Google's services so they will be locked down in them. That's the whole idea behind it, not fighting to destroy Windows.

Re:Business as usual (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30261728)

Amen! If any of that surprises you on any level, welcome to the reality. Megacorps aren't charities.

Which is one reason I love using Free Software only in my computing ventures, I'm nobody's bitch.

Re:Business as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30261746)

>>It's unnecessary to blame the companies how it is. "Making cool products" ....

You got it wrong. the writer is an apple fanboi. His 'educated' guesses are :
1. Google and MS will bombard users with ads.(and what about the patent Steve Jobs just received for - bombarding users with ads?
2. None of them makes "cool" products. (Of course, only apple makes cool products.)

Re:Business as usual (5, Insightful)

chabotc (22496) | about 5 years ago | (#30261772)

One slight detail that I hope wont get in the way of your ranting:

ChromeOS is a web OS, and in the browser you can do everything you can do in your regular browser, like changing your search engine to 'Bing', using MS Office 2010 online or Zohoo office, Yahoo mail, and any other competing web service you desire.

Web is the very opposite of a vendor lock-in, there's an unlimited amount of choice and Google always seems to do their best to allow for competition, the best practical example of this is how easy it is to change the search engine in Chrome to Bing vs the hiding of the Google search option in IE8.

Sure, Google does believe that 'anything that is good for the web will also be good for Google', so having powerful devices and browsers that make the web an attractive platform will also be good for Google in the end (more searches, more ads, more docs, more maps and location services, more waving, etc), but in no way are they locking people into any platform or product

Re:Business as usual (2, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | about 5 years ago | (#30261834)

Er, no, the whole point of getting your data out into the cloud is that it's stuck there. Once you're invested, you can't let go. From Google's perspective, this is a big win--no matter what computer you have, you're still going to be going to Google. From Microsoft's perspective, it's a big lose: they don't want you to be able to choose a non-Windows computer.

Google doesn't care that you can switch to Bing, because in fact you are locked in to Google, so you won't switch. The good news is that a lot of that lock-in comes from Google being more competent than Microsoft in the web services they provide, so you're locked in to something that doesn't suck. But you're still locked in.

Re:Business as usual (5, Informative)

cgenman (325138) | about 5 years ago | (#30261956)

http://www.dataliberation.org/ [dataliberation.org]

Re:Business as usual (1)

DrDitto (962751) | about 5 years ago | (#30262064)

MOD PARENT UP

Mod Parent Up! (1)

Briden (1003105) | about 5 years ago | (#30262174)

my kingdom for a mod point!

Re:Business as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30261962)

I don't understand your logic.. how exactly are you locked in? The point of being on the web is that you can decide to use whichever service you prefer...

Re:Business as usual (1, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#30261994)

It's quite clear. When all of your data is "in the cloud", it's hard to move it elsewhere. It's even more bad than MS having it's own file formats in Word files - you don't have a control of the data either.

And what do people do when it's "too much work" to move to other service? They stay using that same old service where their data is. Hence the lock-in.

Re:Business as usual (4, Interesting)

slim (1652) | about 5 years ago | (#30262036)

So when you're choosing a cloud app, you make a point of using "how easy is it to get my data out of this thing" as one of your criteria.

Just like when you're choosing a local app. You do that, right?

Re:Business as usual (0)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#30262090)

I have done on few occasions (I make sure my emails and such are exportable), but not even nearly always. And I'm a geek, so do you think 'casual' people will do that? Yes, it's about user stupidity. And that's exactly what Google is going for (and MS too).

Re:Business as usual (5, Insightful)

slim (1652) | about 5 years ago | (#30262228)

"Casual people" will learn. Once bitten, twice shy. Just as anyone who bought DRM'd AAC files from iTunes learned, the first time they tried to play them on a non-Apple device.

Yes, it's about user stupidity. And that's exactly what Google is going for (and MS too).

Google is going out of its way to make exporting easy - http://www.dataliberation.org/ [dataliberation.org] . I haven't looked at MS's offerings.

You're right that an unethical provider of cloud services could lock its customers in. I don't believe Google is doing that.

Re:Business as usual (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 years ago | (#30262184)

Yes, one of the intelligent criteria for choosing an app, is how easy it is to import and export data in alternative formats. I'm not a real office guy, but Open Office seems pretty good for that. MS Office to a lesser degree. When I open a file, I ALWAYS want to see an option like "Save as ... " Even if I'm going to continue using the app forever, I want the option, because the guy I'm trying to send data to may not use the same apps.

As for the cloud, again, I want to be able to "Save as ... " to my hard drive. Google MAY JUST HAVE the very best application on earth for any given purpose, but if I can't move my data to wherever, whenever, in any given format, then it's worth about ten pounds of shit in a five pound sack. Grandma has her decades old word processor, that is limited to a given set of formats. I want to send her something or other, I had BETTER be able to convert it. The same goes for any kind of application you care to name - because the boss is just as set in HIS ways as Grandma is.

Re:Business as usual (5, Informative)

slim (1652) | about 5 years ago | (#30262272)

As for the cloud, again, I want to be able to "Save as ... " to my hard drive. Google MAY JUST HAVE the very best application on earth for any given purpose, but if I can't move my data to wherever, whenever, in any given format, then it's worth about ten pounds of shit in a five pound sack.

Fortunately you can.
http://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=49115 [google.com]

I honestly don't know why people assume this obviously necessary functionality isn't there.

Re:Business as usual (1)

chabotc (22496) | about 5 years ago | (#30262190)

This is absolutely a valid concern and it should be one of the criteria when you pick a service or program to use.

Luckily Google makes a large effort to make sure you can move away without any problems or much effort, to use your docs example:
http://www.dataliberation.org/google/google-docs [dataliberation.org]

Short summary: Select docs (or select all), click export, select your preferred file formats (OpenOffice, PDF, MS Office, etc) and click ok

That's not to hard is it? Sure doesn't feel like lock-in to me

Re:Business as usual (0, Troll)

LaughingCoder (914424) | about 5 years ago | (#30262426)

That's not to hard is it? Sure doesn't feel like lock-in to me

It gets pretty cumbersome if you have 1000s of files ... exporting them one at a time. Hence the lock-in. Sure, if you have a smattering of files it's easy, but it gets exponentially more difficult as your data expands. Perhaps if Google provided a bulk export (save folder as ... ).

Re:Business as usual (1)

orlanz (882574) | about 5 years ago | (#30262202)

But just like non-cloud software, the cloud will evolve to be more open. Remember the good old days when every bloody vendor had their own stupid data storage setup for user data, configurations, and upgrades. Over time, some moved toward some sort of standard, many times open standards. Most that didn't either failed, or were too powerful to fail, but are dying a slow death.

The cloud will go through the same evolution. Plus you get other (in theory) advantages like ubiquitous access, perfect redundancy, complete history, unlimited storage, and massive computational power.

The only real negatives are having third parties hold a copy of your data, and net security will always be less than physical security.

I would think vendor lock in would be a small, short term price to pay for the advantages.

Re:Business as usual (5, Informative)

chabotc (22496) | about 5 years ago | (#30262142)

As the other poster pointed out, Google makes a serious commitment to not locking you in, so much so that there's an internal team that works with all product groups to make sure the end users retain those essential freedoms, the result of that is available at http://www.dataliberation.org/ [dataliberation.org]

I personally know of no other company that has such an initiative (would be awesome to see MS do the same though, but somehow I'm not entirely hopeful that we'll see that day).

So what exactly are you basing your information on? I mean, I know it's the year of 'bashing Google' in Chinese astrology or something, but I mean cmon, lets keep some facts in the discussion or all we're doing is random trolling

Re:Business as usual (1)

tbannist (230135) | about 5 years ago | (#30262160)

Umm. I hardly think that's the point of getting your data out into the cloud. It might be a big side effect of doing that, but I think the point of getting your data into the cloud is something along the lines of reducing hardware expenditures and increasing availability to your data.

To me it still appears that Google is engaged in self-defence. Microsoft is still a predatory monopoly, and they've been very vocal about wanting to ruin Google, under those circumstances it's only common sense for a business to prepare for a war. They need their own browser and their own OS in case Microsoft goes squirrely and decides to simply block access to *.google.* in their browser or OS. They could do so, and while they'd get sued to kingdom come, Google would be bankrupt before the legal battle was over and it's doubtful that Microsoft would get fined anywhere near the amount of money they'd end up making off that move. That's the reality of Google. They are living on the edge of Microsoft's fear of legal reprisals.

Re:Business as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30262436)

Is that a joke? Willfully choosing to use a better product means you're "locked in"? Are you from washington DC?

Re:Business as usual (1)

fullgandoo (1188759) | about 5 years ago | (#30262170)

the best practical example of this is how easy it is to change the search engine in Chrome to Bing vs the hiding of the Google search option in IE8.

And the worst example of this is how in Safari on the Mac there isn't any option to change the search engine, it is fixed to Google.

Google WANTS vendor lock-in (3, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | about 5 years ago | (#30262422)

the Web is the very opposite of a vendor lock-in,

No when you're using ChromeOS the way google describes it deployed on the ARM-based netbooks ... everything climatologically signed, and no unauthorized software, no local applications, not even an installed print driver; if the netbook detects tampering, it re-images itself "from the cloud."

I'd rather pay the $25 Microsoft tax and buy a netbook that I can wipe down and install what *I* want on it.

Netbooks are $250 ... by Christmas 2010, they'll be $200. The only people that are going to want a "free google 'welfarebook' with your 24-month wireless internet data contract - some conditions apply, yadda yadda yadda rip-off contract" will be those who can't come up with $200. Far from "do no evil", this will be "gouge the poor."

Re:Google WANTS vendor lock-in (2, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | about 5 years ago | (#30262442)

s/climatologically/cryptologically/'

Sorry about that ...

Re:Business as usual (4, Insightful)

TropicalCoder (898500) | about 5 years ago | (#30261816)

You make it sound like it is just two companies fighting it out in the market place, with Google being evil because they have the dominant position in search. Nothing could be farther from the truth!

Microsoft already dominates the desktop where they enjoy a monopoly. They got there using Machiavellian business tactics and and in fact were convicted in the USA for monopoly practises. They have been fined in Europe for the same kind of thing. They are the last company we want to see gaining a strong position on the internet. We have seen what they would do once they get such a position. People are still curing about non-standards compliant IE6. The sad thing is they will get there eventually unless we discourage them by avoiding things like Bing and Silverlight. The fact is that they have made Bing the default search in IE8, and ensured that it is not easy to switch to Google. They have included Silverlight in Windows Updates - at least on Windows 7. They have a package called "Windows Essentials" on this platform as well that installs all these things, plus a tie-in to Messenger and MSN. Make no mistake who the enemy is here - it is Microsoft by a mile. Now, you may have reasons to be concerned about Google's strength in search, but promoting Microsoft is not the answer.

Re:Business as usual (1)

lalena (1221394) | about 5 years ago | (#30261958)

If you bring Silverlight into the discussion, then it is a 3 way battle.
Adobe Flash vs. Microsoft Silverlight vs. Google backed HTML 5. Here Flash has the dominant position.
This is another front on the OS battle where Web Apps + cloud computing makes it possible for a Browser-based OS do everything most people require of an operating system.

Re:Business as usual (3, Interesting)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 5 years ago | (#30262200)

Until you lose your internet connection..

I don't think the consumer will lose here. Ads are easily blocked these days. Any competition is a good thing, although I have serious doubts about Chrome and the 'cloud'. Even more so with all of these data loss reports from various vendors you would never suspect would screw up something that is so seemingly simple: A backup plan.

I also have serious doubts about Chrome as a contender in the OS market. What provisions does Chrome have for no internet connectivity? For instance, what if your a business traveler who spends a lot of time flying, or when your drunk neighbor hits the cable box with this truck and your stuck without internet for a week.

All of that said, I still think competition in web search is a good thing, no matter how you cut it. It will keep Google on it's toes, and that's a good thing.

Re:Business as usual (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 5 years ago | (#30262372)

For instance, what if your a business traveler who spends a lot of time flying,

You know they have the internet on airplanes now, right?

...or when your drunk neighbor hits the cable box with this truck and your stuck without internet for a week.

Has this actually ever happened to you? And if you are so unlucky, has it ever happened more than once? It's probably far more common to forget to backup your data and have a hard drive failure, in fact I'm pretty sure it is. It's almost impossible for your drunk neighbor to hit the cable box in most situations, as they generally aren't placed in an area where people will be driving too incredibly close to. At least in my experience, anyway.

I'd be more worried about the power outage that ruins the drive with all your data on it, and have to spend $3k to maybe get it back.

Re:Business as usual (3, Funny)

Dun Malg (230075) | about 5 years ago | (#30261842)

...and he loses her privacy to an advertisement company

I was particularly moved by how the despair of realizing that Google isn't a hippy friend drove the basement nerd to suddenly get a sex change.

Re:Business as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30262294)

...and he loses her privacy to an advertisement company

I was particularly moved by how the despair of realizing that Google isn't a hippy friend drove the basement nerd to suddenly get a sex change.

Ahaha

Re:Business as usual (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30261950)

At the end of the day, they both seem like overgrown nerdy schoolboys fighting over each other's toys.

They're the exact opposite. They're businesses that have a clean plan and understand what they are doing.

I really have to question that. For the longest time, it seems like Microsoft has been in reactionary mode, swinging at whoever was making money with electronics. Sony PS1 was the most popular for a generation and really making them money, Microsoft decides to go into video games as well (before Sony, video games consoles were generally designed/made by companies that only did video games, not electronic giants). Apple came out with the iPod and popularized (not invented) the mp3 player, Microsoft decides to jump in with the Zune. Google became the king of search, Microsoft wants a piece of the action with first msn and now bing. They swing at any other megacorp making good money at something.

It isnt to say they aren't going anywhere with it (Xbox seems certainly to have to net them something), but "clean plan" and "understand what they are doing" doesn't come to mind. More like FDR's concept during the great depression to throw a bunch of darts and see what sticks (and besides WW2, those plans weren't really working).

Maybe they cleaned up their directionless act with Windows 7, but that is only one component to their empire. Can't say their whole company has gotten better.

Re:Business as usual (1, Flamebait)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 years ago | (#30262214)

So, why did you post AC? This post deserves a couple mod points, but no one is going to waste them on AC . . . . .

Re:Business as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30262356)

I am not a mindreader, but maybe he thought that a good point should be able to stand on its own, and shouldn't rely on a username to prop it up. If on /. people think differently, then that is a very sad state of affairs.

Re:Business as usual (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 5 years ago | (#30262432)

Microsoft, with stable income from Windows and Office, tries to diversify with the XBOX and Zune and that makes them reactionary? Why isn't Apple and Sony, then?

Re:Business as usual (0, Troll)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 5 years ago | (#30261996)

For him Microsoft seems like a bad guy because they dare to sell products at a price

And nothing at all to do with being a convicted predatory monopoly that has repeatedly broken the law in order to cement an undeserved position in the marketplace. A reading of some of the anti-trust rulings against them would improve your lack of knowledge here.

Re:Business as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30262186)

this is how our economy makes vast sums of other people's money disappear overnight.

Fixed for ya.

This is how we did it in Naples (4, Funny)

PizzaAnalogyGuy (1684610) | about 5 years ago | (#30261696)

I spent my childhood living in Naples, Italy. The city and community was filled with competition. My dad owned his own pizza place next to his cousins pizza place. They were angry at each other, many times going to the street in their white cooking clothes and yelling at each other. Other one took off customers from the another. They could had sold many more delicious pizzas, but couldn't because there just wasn't enough customers. What I learned from it was that you need a clean playing field, so I moved to New York and started my pizza place on the fifth avenue. But competition came there too. Then I decided to become a pizza consultant and just make pizzas for the fun of it. I've never been happier.

What I'm saying here is that in the end customers won't get hit by competition. It will be bad for the pizza place owners, but there will always be pizzas for everyone. And they will be even more delicious, because the pizza place owners have to fight harder.

Re:This is how we did it in Naples (1, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 5 years ago | (#30261736)

While I severely doubt the truth of the above anecdote (especially given your username) the basic point is correct. In the vast majority of circumstances more competition in a market is better for consumers not worse. This is one of the major reasons the United States has anti-trust rules. Consumers should be far more worried about a single monolith controlling an entire industry.

Re:This is how we did it in Naples (1, Insightful)

rxan (1424721) | about 5 years ago | (#30261836)

Yes, in the majority of cases more competition is better. Then there are operating systems.

Until applications and data are built on completely open standards -- interoperable with ANY capable device -- this multiple OS business is just a hassle for consumers.

Imagine if your must-have pizza topping was incompatible with any other company's pizzas!

Re:This is how we did it in Naples (2, Interesting)

aurispector (530273) | about 5 years ago | (#30261894)

None of this stuff is surprising in any way. You're right that consumers should worry more about monopolies, yet this competition is proof that the monopolies are weaker than ever, which is a win for consumers. Google has been deliberately undermining MS for years for example by supporting firefox in order to wrest the browser market from MS. Once they went public with the Chrome browser, android and the chrome OS it became obvious that Google feels strong enough to go head to head with MS in a far more direct manner. The mere fact that MS felt compelled to create Bing (and IE 8, etc.) illustrates that Google is successfully pressuring MS.

In the end it all comes down to how they get paid. MS wants cash up front, Google gets money from ad revenue. So long as the dichotomy remains healthy and dynamic it will result in more consumer choice. Just don't act surprised down the road if, in the event Google becomes the market dominating monolith MS once was, they begin acting like a monopoly. In the end they're still just a business, predictably out to make a profit.

Re:This is how we did it in Naples (1, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | about 5 years ago | (#30261876)

If that were true, then it would be true that pizza in New York was uniformly (or at least usually) good. In fact, though, most pizza in New York is edible, but not very good. That's not to say that there isn't such a thing as a good New York pizza--there is. But there's a phenomenal amount of mediocre pizza in New York. So your analysis doesn't apply. Why? I suspect that cheap pizza out-competes good pizza. So if you can predict the future of computing from the New York pizza situation, the future of computing is probably a ton of crap, with good stuff that's slightly more expensive if you put in the effort to find it. Which, to tell you the truth, sounds pretty familiar.

The good news is that Two Boots is making pizzas as fast as they can, they have an uptown location now, and the pizza there is still good.

Re:This is how we did it in Naples (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#30262068)

I suspect that cheap pizza out-competes good pizza.

This is actually a fairly common thing in Europe too. There's lots of kebab/pizza places that are run by people coming from Turkey or the area around. They directly compete with prices; cheap prices, but also cheap ingredients and somewhat bad service (there are exceptions tho, but in general). Those pizzas aren't that good, you'll find a lot better pizzas in the actual italian like pizza restaurants or the local pizza chain. But many people still use those because it's cheap, even if its just a $2-3 difference.

People are stupid when money comes in to question. Many choose a little bit cheaper, but more crappier thing over a quality product. That will probably happen to computers too, and is most likely already happening.

Re:This is how we did it in Naples (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#30262338)

It possibly has something to do with marketing too. I used to get pizzas delivered from a local place that we found online (with a horrible web site. If you made the mistake of looking at it in IE you got PowerPoint style transitions when you clicked on every link). They were cheap - around half the price of the big chains - but similar quality. They didn't advertise though, so the likes of Dominos and Pizza Hut that put adverts on television got more business. Almost everyone I knew who tried their pizzas preferred them to the big chains and (since they were also cheaper) bought them in preference, but they still didn't make enough profit to stay open.

The price issue is important for things like take-away food. I can make a nicer pizza than any of the places that deliver to my house, but it takes about an hour to an hour and a half, of which about half an hour is active cooking and the rest is waiting. I'll use better quality ingredients than the delivery pizza, but it still costs a lot less. If a take away pizza is sufficiently cheap then I'll get one when I'm feeling lazy. If it's a bit more expensive then I'll just cook something that's less effort than a pizza.

I've no idea what this has to do with Google or Microsoft though. Possibly they are equivalent to Dominos and Pizza Hut...

Re:This is how we did it in Naples (1)

Zakabog (603757) | about 5 years ago | (#30262316)

But there's a phenomenal amount of mediocre pizza in New York. So your analysis doesn't apply. Why? I suspect that cheap pizza out-competes good pizza.

You live in NY and you think good pizza is more expensive than the mediocre pizza and that's why there are so many mediocre pizza places around?

That's not quite it, most of the really good pizza places I know of offer pizza for the same price as anywhere else. There are a few reasons I know of that so many "mediocre" places exist around new york. One is that not everyone considers that pizza to be "mediocre." Most people will favor their neighborhood pizza place that they grew up with as a kid. Pizza places are cheap, easy to start, and easy to run, you don't have to be the best to stay open you just have to be good enough. And there are more than enough people in NYC that you can get by with having a lousy pizza, with all of the tourists that don't know any better and all of the commuters who just don't want to bother changing where they get their pizza.

I have noticed that the local place usually attempts to get better though if a place opens nearby that makes better pizza. Some of the best pizza places I know of on Staten Island (and voted as some of the best in NYC) are all located within a reasonably close proximity.

Re:This is how we did it in Naples (0, Offtopic)

slim (1652) | about 5 years ago | (#30262370)

All that tells us is that (in New York at least), the vast majority of consumers want cheap pizza more than they want "good" pizza. But the fact that you can still find good pizza in New York also tells us that there is also a market for more expensive, nicer pizza. A smart entrepreneur might target that market rather than join the race to the lowest price.

Recenly in my town, the curry restauranteurs complained to the council. Many restaurants were allowed to open on the same street, and they complained that the competition had pushed prices so low that they couldn't make money.

My reaction to this was: "compete on something other than price". Curry houses attract repeat custom. Surely there are plenty of people who'd happily pay £5 for a delicious curry in pleasant surroundings, rather than £2.50 for a crappy one at a plastic table. Competition need not result in a race to the bottom, unless that's actually what consumers want.

Yeah it was funny (1)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#30262026)

But also very true.

Cut throat competition is always good for the consumer.

Re:Yeah it was funny (1)

unitron (5733) | about 5 years ago | (#30262246)

Cut throat competition,like say Wal-Mart versus everybody else, leads to everybody concentrating on fewer "models" whose quality decreases as an unavoidable consequence of the price war, which means that after a while you can only get it in "medium" and it breaks or wears out quickly.

Re:This is how we did it in Naples (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 years ago | (#30262232)

How 'bout a white pizza with calamare? (Oh-kay, I can't spell, but we both know what I want, right?)

History lesson (5, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 5 years ago | (#30261708)

I don't recall this so called consumers loosing, when Microsoft tried to compete with Google with their last 2 (or was it 3) search engines. The only way you might loose is if you inflict pain upon yourself by using Bing. I give it a year maybe 2 before Bing is gone.

Re:History lesson (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30261790)

I don't recall this so called consumers loosing, when Microsoft tried to compete with Google with their last 2 (or was it 3) search engines. The only way you might loose is if you inflict pain upon yourself by using Bing. I give it a year maybe 2 before Bing is gone.

It's losing. Every time you spell it loose or loosing you look like an idiot.

Re:History lesson (-1, Troll)

Dumnezeu (1673634) | about 5 years ago | (#30262020)

And why do you always hide behind AC when you know you look like an idiot for arguing about spelling in a geek forum? You also missed many other spelling mistakes. Doesn't that also make you an idiot? Why do you think that everyone needs to fully comprehend the whole English language and know by heart how to use and write every little word exactly as it was chosen by some guys in robes at some conference a few decades ago, in order to communicate to each other? Why didn't you enclose the words you were correcting in double quotes? The correct way of saying what you said would have been: > and you're also forgetting that "loose" is a word, but because English is such a messed up language with so many influences from around the world, it's getting more and more difficult to spell it. And how is your ranting contributing to the discussion? The guy wrote "loose" and you clearly understood what he was talking about. Why does it matter that he didn't write it as you would have wanted him to? He also clearly said that he moved to New York, US from Naple, Italy therefore you can't expect him to know the same English language you were taught in school, since many news publications and books in the US are full of bad spelling. I've even seen school books that taught kids wrong ways to spell as if they were correct.

I'm feeling much better now :-)

Elephants (0)

Marillion (33728) | about 5 years ago | (#30261710)

When Elephants fight, it's the grass that gets hurt.

Re:Elephants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30262380)

And when they eat...

Dan 'I'm not a paid shill' Lyons? (5, Insightful)

E-Sabbath (42104) | about 5 years ago | (#30261720)

If you've been following Groklaw over the last few years, I should point out that Mr. Lyons is a huge SCO supporter. I can not say Microsoft pays him money, but anything and everything he says is designed to hit Microsoft's opponents from the side. He likes to say bad things about both Microsoft and Microsoft's opponent of the day, but in a way that Microsoft comes off the better of the two.

I'd put more trust into something John Dvorak had to say than Mr. Lyons.

Enough. (1)

westlake (615356) | about 5 years ago | (#30261918)

I can not say Microsoft pays him money

Then don't.

The geek drags his conspiracy theories around like Linus and his blanket. It becomes a substitute for thought. It becomes a substutute for proof.

Re:Enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30262042)

Fanboy or paid zealot, the net affect is the same. He has an agenda, whether it's paid by the backdoor or otherwise doesn't really make any difference to the validity of his commentary.

Re:Enough. (4, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | about 5 years ago | (#30262152)

It was very clear in his writing - overt PR and not journalism. There's no "conspiracy theory" here since it was all so blatantly obvious in the SCO situation.
I don't know about his relationship with Microsoft and don't really care like the above poster does, all I consider is that this person has written a lot of very obvious lies in the past and cannot be trusted as a technical journalist. Using the fake Steve Jobs blogs to push an anti-linux agenda hard was also somewhat unprofessional and ultimately made it obvious as to who was writing it since he was doing SCO pieces at the time as well that overlapped.

Agreed. (3, Interesting)

schon (31600) | about 5 years ago | (#30261920)

What I took away from this story is this:

"MS is worried about Google, and so they're paying someone to say that Google is just as bad as MS is."

Re:Dan 'I'm not a paid shill' Lyons? (2, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | about 5 years ago | (#30262084)

Even totally not knowing who he is, my first impression from the summary was just in that vein.

"Remember, Google starting the fight with MS (//it is presented a bit like that...) will be only bad for us"

Re:Dan 'I'm not a paid shill' Lyons? (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | about 5 years ago | (#30262092)

If he wasn't paid for all of that PR work with SCO then he's an idiot. Note that he also used the fake Steve Jobs blog to push that agenda hard. "Entertainers" pretending to be journalists are a blight on the net.

Re:Dan 'I'm not a paid shill' Lyons? (5, Interesting)

fwr (69372) | about 5 years ago | (#30262180)

I was thinking the same thing. "Dan Lyons," where did I hear that name before? Oh yes! He's that shill. He irreparably damaged his reputation in the SCO fiasco, and anything he says now, or writes, will be forever tarnished. The only reason I read this Slashdot story was to see if anyone else recalled his involvement. I certainly won't be reading his actual article, or even participating in the "debate" over it's contents, as that is actually what he wants to foster. I'd say let this story die.

Re:Dan 'I'm not a paid shill' Lyons? (0, Troll)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#30262350)

If you've been following Groklaw over the last few years...

... then you've probably given up on rational thought and given in to paranoia and conspiracy theories some time ago.

Loosing faith in competition? (3, Insightful)

chabotc (22496) | about 5 years ago | (#30261726)

Anyone who thinks that a device will be free underestimates how willing people in 3rd world countries are to build houses out of such devices, or nerds willing to wall paper their rooms with it, well you catch the drift I'm sure :)

On the other hand being able to have a 13" device without running into the fact that that requires a full Vista/Windows7 license (there's restrictions in the xp & cheaper netbook versions that limit them to 11" screens on netbooks) does make them a lot cheaper, but I fail to see how that would hurt the consumer?

Also some competitive pressure on Microsoft/Apple to lift such artificial restrictions that are designed to maximize their profit margins seems like a win for consumers in my book, or did we loose faith in this whole competitive market thing?

The only thing that does slightly worry me is the whole Murdoch / Microsoft assault on the open web, the alternative to robots.txt they propose (which allows partial pages to be indexed without being allowed to read the text around it) would allow spammers to create pages where only a popular search term bit of text would be surrounded by virii, scams and spam. It just won't work and it won't bring back the distribution monopoly's that Murdoch enjoyed for most of his (very long) life.

What ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30261730)

Adblock plus! I love breaking business models.

Competition is bad for consumers (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#30261744)

Normally the reaction to someone saying this kind of pinko commie crap is to laugh and tell them to go fuck themselves back to Russia.

But Lyons has a point. Competition, in this particular case, may not be the best thing for customers. Why so, you may ask. It is because of the lopsidedness of the market that makes this situation so precarious.

From the end of WWII until the fall of the Berlin Wall, there were two sides to every geopolitical debate. The side of good, right, and the American Way and the side of the Soviet Union. Countries aligned themselves along these very clear geopolitical boundaries. Though it was easy enough to declare allegiance to one side or the other, many countries found their own geopolitical aspirations dashed to smithereens on either the broad wings of the American eagle or the hard, solid face of the Iron Curtain.

However, with the end of the Cold War, vassal states are now finding their own voice. Countries that were previously shackled now find that the lack of a superpower competition has resulted in more opportunities for growth. Take two countries that America fought wars in as examples. Korea and Vietnam are now booming with economic and technological growth.

These opportunities don't come because they are subservient states to a particular superpower, but because they no longer need to pledge allegiance and are able to make their own way.

So when two superpowers like Microsoft and Google start duking it out, the fallout is going to hit partner companies AND consumers alike.

Re:Competition is bad for consumers (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | about 5 years ago | (#30262212)

But Osama sure did well out of it, the cold war was a boom for many leaders (good and bad) used the cash both sides were willing to dole out to hurt the opposition to launch themselves. Would Mozilla be where it is today if it weren't for google?

This could be interesting (1)

minibox (1688010) | about 5 years ago | (#30261796)

When two people quarrel, a third rejoices. Any bets on Apple i guess.

Oh noes! Accept ads or pay extra? (1)

tacarat (696339) | about 5 years ago | (#30261798)

FTFA

I'm afraid we may be headed toward a world where some devices will be free or really cheap, but when you use them you'll be bombarded by ads—or pay a premium to escape them.

Wait, what? How's this different than what's out there now? Pay full price up front or a reduced price in exchange for ads, contract/product lock-in or whatever else they cook up. Nothing new here, move along >.>

Re:Oh noes! Accept ads or pay extra? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 5 years ago | (#30262018)

> Wait, what? How's this different than what's out there now?

In that if he is right (not something he has a stellar record of) consumers will have even more choice. This he apparently considers bad.

Re:Oh noes! Accept ads or pay extra? (1)

tacarat (696339) | about 5 years ago | (#30262104)

That, or he thinks we should pay full price, get full lock in and have all the ads. Did I mention shoddier service that comes from monopolies?

Re:Oh noes! Accept ads or pay extra? (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 5 years ago | (#30262112)

Exactly, and I see it as a very good thing.

I personally don't mind ads, especially Google's ads (which are apparently far more effective than the ugly banner ads). Most of the time I don't see them, and I'll gladly take free + ads over a paid service in almost every case.

For example, if I could get free cell phone service by agreeing to the occasional text advertisement or a banner on the background I'd jump at it. That would save me $80 per month, it's a huge value to me. If I get sick and tired of the ads, or I get a raise and the $80 savings is less of a deal, I might pay for the service to remove them.

The fact is, the Microsoft/Google battle has been very good for consumers. Bing, while not as good as Google yet IMO, is ten times better than searches were 5 years ago, and Google is far better than it was 5 years ago. The battle encourages each company to create innovative products for the consumer's attention so they can sell advertisements and a whole host of other services to advertisers and consumers alike.

Look at Google's line of web apps - a lot of them compete directly for the low to mid tier users of Microsoft's products in a way that is completely different than anybody on the market, and it's a boon to consumers. Seriously, who would have thought 10 years ago that you could create a document on one computer, edit it on another, and print it from a third without ever having the document on the hard drive? It works so well in most cases that whole businesses are switching to Google's apps from the MS Office line, and they are doing so for far less per-seat than ever.

Does anybody remember email before Gmail? Unless you had your own web server, it was pitiful. 7gb of storage with a 20mb message limit? Seriously? My corporate email has a 150mb total limit and only recently bumped up to a "massive" 15mb message limit. If you have basic arithmatic skills you'll not that 10 maximum sized emails will fill that storage limit. MS was forced to seriously improve hotmail, which used to be plain shitty for the free users (you WISH you got 150mb of storage), but now it reasonably competes with Gmail.

So where are the losers here? Excluding the hits they took from the recession, Google makes more money, Microsoft makes more money, advertisers get better exposure, and the consumers get better service at lower cost. Hell for the folks who hate the ads in Gmail and Hotmail, you can pay a premium to remove them for less than a paid email account cost 10 years ago.

I don't see where anybody lost at all with this arrangement. I see where they had to work harder, but both Google and Microsoft's expansion into new markets shows that they are only growing and improving.

It's not a zero sum game, there is a possibility for everyone to win, and stiff competition is the most efficient way to find it.

"He started it!" (1)

Baldrson (78598) | about 5 years ago | (#30261812)

Its clear which of these nerdy school boys "started it":

Microsoft

The network externalities locking in Microsoft's control of the OS standard are exceeded only by the Federal Reserve's control of the world's reserve currency.

Google has nothing comparable to Microsoft's network externality.

An improvement for consumers (5, Insightful)

danlip (737336) | about 5 years ago | (#30261848)

Microsoft has always cared far more about crushing competition than providing anything of value to consumers. They buy up cool products just to shut them down, have a massive FUD engine, and promise the next version will be better but instead deliver Windows ME and Vista. Even if Google is just a money-grubbing competitor, it is a real competitor that Microsoft can't crush. Which means both companies will have to compete by offering something better to the consumers. Consumers win.

Re:An improvement for consumers (1)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#30262006)

They buy up cool products just to shut them down...

They shut them down because they're not very profitable or unprofitable. This is done in every other business - it's not just a Microsoft thing. Apple has done it. Where is the NeXT computer, by the way? Automobile companies do it ALL the time.

Believe me, if a "cool" product was making money, MS would be right there promoting it. Just because you think it's cool doesn't mean it's a good product or it's a product worth producing.

And as far as buying companies for their technology, that too is done in every industry.

Re:An improvement for consumers (3, Insightful)

danlip (737336) | about 5 years ago | (#30262100)

Um, if it is not profitable, why buy the company and shut it down? Just let the company die on its own. And they're not buying them for the technology either, because they don't use it. They buy them and shut them own because they are worried that it will steal market share from them.

Re:An improvement for consumers (1)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#30262172)

And they're not buying them for the technology either, because they don't use it

Companies have other technologies - in some cases technologies that make up the product. You also buy companies for customers, a piece of a market because you have the ability to make it profitable, factories, etc... There are many reason.

They buy them and shut them own because they are worried that it will steal market share from them.

Show me one instance - just one - where that was the case.

If you do have an example (I seriously doubt it), the owners of the company made the decision to do it. If MS waved some money under my nose for my property, I would just at it - you or anyone else have no right judging a decision I made with my property.

Re:An improvement for consumers (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#30262376)

Apple has done it. Where is the NeXT computer, by the way?

It was rebranded as a Mac Cube. The 68040 processor was replaced with a PowerPC and later with an Intel chip. The kernel was updated a bit and the Display PostScript server was replaced with Quartz. NeXT had exited the hardware business before Apple bought them, and were selling their OS for $499 (for the i486 version). Apple brought the price down and shipped it with their new systems. They gave away the NeXT developer tools (Project Builder and Interface Builder) for free with the system and even WebObjects (formerly several hundred thousand dollars) is free. You'd be hard pressed to point to any significant NeXT projects that were completely abandoned by Apple (although some nice things like NSDataLink were lost).

It's more accurate to say that NeXT cancelled a lot of good Apple projects (like the Newton) than that Apple killed off cool NeXT products. The NeXT products formed the core of the Apple product line after the takeover.

Speaking of funding-via-ads: Apple! (0, Flamebait)

ItsJustAPseudonym (1259172) | about 5 years ago | (#30261860)

From the article: "Apple recently applied for a patent for a technology that not only shows you ads but also forces you to watch by freezing your device until you comply."

Shyeah.

1. Why the heck is something like this patentable? (No, don't answer. That's basically a rhetorical question. All kinds of insipid concepts get patented. I just hope this one does not make it.)

2. This behavior will basically make the Apple product behave like a single-threaded device, at least for the duration of the ad. I've got news for Apple: The world is going multi-threaded. Consumers are coming to expect the flexibility that multi-threading provides, even if they don't know the underlying reason for it. If Apple products start acting like single-threaded devices, it will reflect poorly on the quality and capabilities of those products.

Re:Speaking of funding-via-ads: Apple! (1)

TiberiusMonkey (1603977) | about 5 years ago | (#30261980)

So because they patent it, they are going to use it? I'll kick up a fuss (and by that I mean vote with my wallet) when I see an Apple product do this.

This too shall pass (1)

Boawk (525582) | about 5 years ago | (#30261870)

Microsoft wants to ruin Google's search business. Google wants to ruin Microsoft's OS business.

If they were to truly ruin each other, additional competitors would come out of the ashes to offer something consumers want more. You say they're too big for a competitor to emerge? Hey, aren't you that guy 20 years ago who was complaining about how large IBM was and how they controlled the whole PC market?

Re:This too shall pass (1)

mweather (1089505) | about 5 years ago | (#30262030)

Had IBM not voluntarily opened up, they'd still be running the show.

Re:This too shall pass (1)

Vellmont (569020) | about 5 years ago | (#30262296)

Heh.

If IBM hasn't opened up, the two big players duking it out for the PC market would be Commodore and Apple. Without the "clone makers" (wow does that sound like an archaic term) the PC would never have taken the market share it did. Without them and Microsoft, Commodore and Apple would have mopped the floor with IBMs slow innovation pace.

Windows is protected more thoroughly (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 years ago | (#30262140)

Hey, aren't you that guy 20 years ago who was complaining about how large IBM was and how they controlled the whole PC market?

The IBM PC wasn't patented, and the part that was copyrighted (BIOS) was so small that a company could clean-room reverse engineer a 99.44% compatible version. Compaq did this, and I seem to remember that IBM sued, but Compaq's legal team got a federal judge to not only tell IBM to go to hell but draw them a map on how to get there. Windows, on the other hand, is a much more complex and thoroughly copyrighted platform. The closest contender for 99% compatibility with apps and device drivers made for Windows is ReactOS, and that's nowhere near prime time.

Have to differ with this (-1, Troll)

WindBourne (631190) | about 5 years ago | (#30261896)

I get tired of ppl trying to paint Google at this time, with the same brush that applies to MS. Google has been very heavily into creating NEW ideas as well as being VERY consumer friendly. OTH, MS has a long and tired history of taking other ppls ideas and developing them on their platform and then selling them cheaply (or giving them away) to drive out competition. Once they have done that, THEN they jack up the prices. Even in the early days of MS, they stole the idea of the all encompassing IDE from Borland, and then encouraged others to steal it from them. Gates openly said that it was taking money from Borland( They do the same in China by charging less than $5 for what is over $200 here. ). OTH, Google has created new ideas and even give them away, as well as encourage others to make use of them.

With that said, I do think that if MS CAN hurt Google, then I can see the day coming where Google will allow business ppl to take over. At that time, they will be just like AOL, Intuit, E-bay, Novell, IBM, yahoo, etc. and their days will be numbered. MS has a major advantage with their illegal obtained monopoly.

Bollocks! (3, Insightful)

ThePromenader (878501) | about 5 years ago | (#30261900)

Really. Google has never wanted to damage Microsoft, but they sure want to take every step possible to make sure that they 'play nice'. Yes, I suppose that this could be 'damaging' to MS's usual business methods.

Already Microsoft is swinging deals behind the scenes to better promote their new search engine (ref: Murdoch/MS search exclusions). I say let's get rid of the 'behind the scenes' deals - for both of them.

Be nice to see accurate facts..... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30261928)

Quoted from TFA: "It's easy to see why Murdoch might like Ballmer's proposal. Murdoch has been grumbling for a while now about Google getting a free ride on his content. Google creates abstracts of news articles, places ads next to them, and keeps all the money." (Emphasis added.)

Maybe I'm missing something, but I hit Google News pretty much daily and I cannot recall ever seeing an ad on that page. It *looks* like a page of straight hypertext links that contain the story headline and a few words from the beginning of the original story being linked. I don't recall seeing many complete phrases in the text blurbs, much less a complete sentence, let alone a paragraph, or Xenu forbid, a story!

As for Macrocruft buying Murdoch's business, why Xenu bless them both! Far be it from me to interfere when one con man tricks another con man into paying for a new set of clothes for the Emperor.

Re:Be nice to see accurate facts..... (1)

mevets (322601) | about 5 years ago | (#30262230)

From Murdocks perspective, his ads aren't on the page, therefore it is as if somebody elses were. They are, after all, taking his money right out of his pocket. In case you've never seen a Murdock program or read a Murdock paper, "AS IF" means the same as "IS".

I know who i'm ruting for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30261982)

I do not have any problems with Google's business model. They provide valuable services and treat their users with respect. They have always had the best search engine because it is free of clutter (remember yahoo)?

Microsoft, on the other hand, attacks the users' right to first sale of products we purchase. Microsoft also puts back doors into the OS for the entertainment industry. I'm talking about that broadcast flag stuff that allows Hollywood to sabotage your TV recording experience if you rely on Windows.

It is as clear as a window... One company is evil, the other is not.

The author neglected to consider one thing.... (4, Insightful)

mweather (1089505) | about 5 years ago | (#30262010)

Hurting Microsoft IS helping consumers.

Ban competition (1)

cartman (18204) | about 5 years ago | (#30262012)

Yes it would be awful it companies competed with each other, and made alternatives to each others' products. That would be disastrous. Consumers would be the ultimate losers from that kind of infighting.

Re:Ban competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30262102)

Banning competition... might just be crazy enough to work!

Re:Ban competition (1)

Old97 (1341297) | about 5 years ago | (#30262384)

That worked out real well for the Soviet Union. It's been so successful in the People's Republic of China that they've been shifting to a market economy as quickly as they can. Yup, we need more central planning. A good 5 year plan for IT would be great for everyone. It would eliminate those annoying surprises and disruptions. Prices would be stable. Everything according to plan. Know any central planners you'd trust that to?

In other news... (3, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about 5 years ago | (#30262060)

Dan "lyin'" Lyons figures out that companies aren't the warm fuzzy things he thought they were.

Dan also figures out that water is wet.

--
BMO

I'm just naive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30262070)

but just as reprehensible as two market leaders attacking each other would be the alternative: a good 'ol boys backroom deal to divide up the spoils (collusion).

eh.. competition is good

and of course they don't have my best interests in mind. Who does except me, anyways?

This is Dan Lying Lyons (5, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | about 5 years ago | (#30262086)

people this is Dan lyons he is the guy who said SCO not only had a case but would win.

I would trust him being right about as much I would trust darl mcbride to be right. once a liar always a liar. Some people can change but the most will not have the strength to.

Besides it is almost anti-gogle for google to push even more ads on people. Google ads are almost always simple text based items that are off to the side. unlike MSFT which brands everything it touches two or three times.

Re:This is Dan Lying Lyons (1)

Me! Me! 42 (1153289) | about 5 years ago | (#30262336)

Yeah,
Apparently only two other folks noticed the fact that this is Dan Lyons.
Have to admit I don't know much about the SCO thing (except for what I've read about it in the aftermath) but I have noticed from his "tech articles" that he's a moron. I guess the fact that so few people have noticed this should not surprise me. After all, Newsweek hired him as a "technology editor" despite his overpowering stench.
Go figure.

Forced to buy MS windows (2, Insightful)

JHL (699814) | about 5 years ago | (#30262156)

Speaking as a consumer of netbooks, I am fed up paying the Microsoft tax, having them puke windows Vista all over my hard drive and vandalizing it with nasty plastic stickers on it. I format the drive, pull off the stickers and install Ubuntu. I hope Google wins and wipes MS out. Hardly fair when you cant choose not to have windows and are forced to pay for something you dont want.

And the winner is... (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 5 years ago | (#30262288)

open source!

at least, once we get open-source search engines utilizing peer-to-peer distributed processing techniques...

Why Google will win the Search Engine War (1)

lordsid (629982) | about 5 years ago | (#30262334)

Google will win the search engine war because you don't tell your friends to Bing! the latest flash game or Yahoo! that one sports video.

There's no free lunch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#30262386)

Why would anyone expect to be given a free or highly discounted device and have it come with absolutely no restrictions? If Google hands out highly discounted Chrome netbooks it's because they think they can recoup the cost through advertising. Complaining about that advertising is ridiculous; it comes with the netbook. If Google or Microsoft start trying to lock down full-priced devices, they'll get hit with anti-trust suits (as Microsoft has).

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