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Google, Microsoft And The Long, Slow Kill

Microsoft better watch out, because Google is moving in for the long, slow kill. With a growing arsenal of Web-based services that includes Google Docs and now, Google App Engine, the search giant is just about everywhere that Microsoft is, and beyond. According to Mary Jo Foley of All About Microsoft, the software giant is also readying a cloud development platform to rival Google App Engine, but she doesn't think they'll be delivering it anytime soon.

Why? For the same reason other disrupted companies have trouble, says Henry Blodget of Silicon Alley Insider: "Because they have legacy products to produce." Indeed, Microsoft makes most of its billions selling apps Google now gives away for free (or at least, nearly free). Google's versions don't have as many features as Microsoft's, but as Blodget says, they're simple, cheap, convenient, and they get the job done.

Google is going after the low-end of the market, which goes after good value--a trend that eventually seeps into the greater market. Google Docs won't displace Microsoft Office over night; it may take a few years, but as long as Google keeps improving its inferior, but free, product, Microsoft will keep adding more features to its legacy moneymaker, until these become unnecessary and mainstream users switch over to the disruptor's product. Thus, the long, slow kill.

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