Google is the new Microsoft. What does that mean?
Let’s start by explaining what was Microsoft twenty years ago.
Microsoft, is the company (or at least, his CEO) that once categorized Linux as cancer.
This is the company that did not respect technologies standards (especially HTML/CSS) to put away competition, which resulted in a horrible developer and user experience. Internet Explorer 6 was considered one of the worst product of all time.
This is also the company that developed a collaborative scheduling Operating System (all Windows before XP) when superior solutions already existed at the time.
And worst, this is the company that integrated such pictures in a text editor.
This was the company with a crazy CEO (in the bad sense) that predicted in 2007 the iPhone will be a flop and acquired Nokia (a company that was completely done and no future) after 2010.
Since then, the company is doing better, thanks to a new CEO that brought the company back on track.
But ten to twenty years ago, Microsoft was lost. They did not have good products, no identity and no soul. And this is where Google is today.
The first Google products were great. I remember when GMail was offering a GB to store my emails where Hotmail was offering 100 MB at most. The interface was fast, convenient: everything you expected for such a product. They were following key engineering principles: keep it simple and stupid.
Over the years, products started to be bloated. And slow. GMail started to look like Outlook or even Lotus Notes, especially on non-Chrome browsers. Products started to be counter-intuitive, exactly how Microsoft Word currently is. Google Cloud Console is the perfect example of a terrible user experience where nothing is intuitive and you need to go to the documentation each time you use the product. There is a clear lack of prioritization at the company where new features are stacked and developed in spite of common design sense.
There is also a clear lack of innovation. Over the last years, Google failed to create new innovative products. Every attempt to start a social network failed miserably and new products are being thrown into the Google cemetery.
Inside the company, it seems there is no morale. The perfect example is when the company did not immediately react to a sexual harassment case and kept giving a $90M bonus package to the alleged culprit.
The same low morale also applies to the products. Google that once praised standardization is now behaving exactly like Microsoft, when they had a monopoly in the browser market. It is now not a mystery that Google is changing its web applications to slow down competitors such as Firefox or Edge. Exactly what Microsoft did with Internet Explorer 6 fifteen years ago.
These repeated practices show that instead of innovating, Google is trying to make the competitors look bad.
Do you want to be their customers?
Do not be evil
The story of Google is simple: the new cool kids were here to revolutionize the internet. At the very beginning, Google was a game changer: a search on the internet was taking less than a second. Their product were cool. And free. They were the Microsoft anti-thesis.
The spirit of the company was simple: be cool. Or rather: Don’t be evil. To developers, it meant a lot. It meant that somebody was doing the right thing and was not going to sell their soul.
Unfortunately, this time is now gone, as the previous paragraphs shown. It was officially reflected in the company internal documents in 2018. And it is now okay for Google to be evil.
Make no mistake: Google is the new Microsoft.