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Landscape Is Changing For Microsoft and Google 122

ReadWriteWeb writes "John Milan, Senior Software Architect and founder of TeamDirection, writes about the convergence of Web and Desktop. He argues that Microsoft and Google are focusing so much on each other, that both will either fail to notice the landscape is changing underfoot — or will be unable to adapt quickly enough. The article concludes that the days of purely desktop-based applications are clearly numbered, but so are the days of exclusively web-based apps. Both Microsoft and Google are racing toward a happy medium. However, they aren't the only players in town, not by a long shot. Both Mozilla and Adobe are well positioned to take advantage of desktop and web convergence."
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Landscape Is Changing For Microsoft and Google

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  • Browser OS (Score:2, Funny)

    by cucucu ( 953756 )
    As computer power increases, everything will be inside your browser.
    Now we are starting to have Office Apps in the browser.
    In the near future all your OS will be in your browser/server.
    Your good old Desktop OS will be just to start your browser.
    • Re:Browser OS (Score:4, Interesting)

      by badfish99 ( 826052 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @08:49AM (#16671931)
      As computer power increases, everything will be inside your browser.

      Yes, because of course we need to waste all that computer power on the desktop by just running a browser, and then sell hundreds of expensive mainframes^H^H^H servers to do the real processing.

      Than, after a few years, someone will come up with the revolutionary idea of a "personal computer", and we'll go round the loop again.
      • Desktop power is still scaling faster than network speed, but I think the approaces Microsoft, Adobe, and Mozilla are all pursuing are of "content runtime" approach - where quite a bit of the work really does happen on the desktop. That's (more or less) the specific "convergence" the author is referring to...
        --
        graphicallyspeaking [kotay.com]
    • Quick question... without an OS how exactly are you planning to have the browser interact with hardware like... I don't know... maybe the network card so it can access the "server" to runs its OS?

      Since controlling low level hardware communitcations like this is what the OS does, I guess we can just rename the "OS" to the "browser". If thats the case does that mean MS was right all along and the browser really does belong in the OS? ;-)
    • by daranz ( 914716 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @09:09AM (#16672123)
      In the future, all browsers will be a webapps! Then, the Internet will collapse because of the resulting paradox.
      • In the future, all browsers will be a webapps! Then, the Internet will collapse because of the resulting paradox.

        No no no, it's simple. You'll only need a desktop browser to bootstrap the web app browser. Once it's running, you won't need the desktop browser any more!

        Rich.

        • Um. The practical application as stated is funny but the principle is actually intriguing... I can see web filtering companies such as WebSense going for something like this. Think of a kid's locked-down desktop that comes with only a bare minimal, barely functioning browser. A web filtering company then totally controls the content (think massive portal with approved applets). You wouldn't be able to hack it or go around it and new anonymous proxies can be detected and dealt with in real time. No spy
        • You'll only need a desktop browser to bootstrap the web app browser.

          You laugh, but that's pretty close to what the Mozilla-based browsers do. They are basically an empty window that gets filled by some sort of web technology. (XUL in the case of FireFox.) The HTML rendering pane is just another control inside a web document. That rendering pane could theoretically hold another copy of FireFox inside of it, as it can render XUL just as well as HTML.

          I have actually done a web browser inside of a webbrowser by

      • In the future, all browsers will be a webapps! Then, the Internet will collapse because of the resulting paradox.

        The end is near! [bittybrowser.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tbannist ( 230135 )
      1995 called, they want their Netscape back.

      I'm sure we all know that we really want to play Quake inside a browser. No, the Desktop OS will never go away and browsers are not the best tool for every job, any more than screwdrivers have made hammers obsolete. I can't really say any use in a program that's half web based and half desktop based. Except perhaps to use a browser component to access web pages from within the application. Any other information can be handled by a proprietary networking app/ser
      • I can't really say any use in a program that's half web based and half desktop based.


        So, then you have no use for:

        • Google Earth
        • Picasa
        • Blogging, particularly blogging front-ends
        • Adobe Reader
        • Microsoft Update


        All of these are half-web and half-desktop.
        • Not to mention Citrix, whose whole function is to bring desktop-like functionality to remote-delivered applications. It looks like (to a very casual user) a locally-running application, and sees your locally connected printers and hard drive, but is actually residing on a remote system somewhere.

          It has a lot of problems (not least of which is the way that Microsoft requires you to buy software licenses), but it's quite popular in business.
        • So, then you have no use for:

          * Google Earth
          * Picasa

          Never used them.

          * Blogging, particularly blogging front-ends

          Tried one, didn't like it

          * Adobe Reader

          Isn't web based at all as far as I can tell.

          * Microsoft Update

          There are better ways than Microsoft Update, and I don't like or trust their garbage proprietary must-use-IE software.

          All of these are half-web and half-de

      • by Firehed ( 942385 )
        While you're not wrong, I'd like to point out that I've used screwdrivers as a hammer on several occasions. And they work well enough for the purpose that I don't currently own a hammer (or, at least, have easy access to one, unlike the screwdrivers sitting in my desk drawers). Though I'll be interested to see if "but, does it run Quake" becomes the accepted slashdot meme for these pseudo-web apps.
      • I can't really say any use in a program that's half web based and half desktop based. Except perhaps to use a browser component to access web pages from within the application. Any other information can be handled by a proprietary networking app/server and you get orders of magnitude better performance.

        The performance gains to be had by building a proprietary application server are easily offset by the opportunity costs of having to release later because you didn't use standard web protocols. What we're see
    • The OS in the Browser in the OS in the Browser in the OS in the ..
    • by Ucklak ( 755284 )
      Actually the future of the desktop commercial OS will be nothing but a rentware kiosk that provides a platform for iTunes like interface for media and WGA for localized apps.
      Similar to the current model of the boxed versions of Norton/McAfee for those products.

      As consoles will continue to do more than just play games, there will likely be a convergence of the two(consoles and PC).
      You will be able to view data (files,pictures, etc...) on either a console or a PC that you store on a personal SAN.

      One of the th
    • by msezell ( 862831 ) *
      I don't know about anyone else, but I'm having a hard enough time securing my data now without giving over control of my data to whatever company thats wants me to run their all-in-everything browser/os while dialing home with all that I am. No thanks.
  • Just as Netscape before them, Google is only one provider of online services.

    Just like Internet, Microsoft provides the infrastructure upon which online services may run.

    Mozilla and Adobe are in an enviable position of providing tools for people to build useful applications upon.

    Google, OTOH, needs to rely on constant innovation and development of markets in order to keep their revenue stream growing.

    Who are Microsoft's competitors? Apple and Linux.

    Who are Google's? You and me.

    Google's not in any favorable
    • by onion2k ( 203094 )
      Google's not in any favorable position except in the most naive of interpretations.

      Google are in the very favourable position of being able to buy emerging market leaders/market dominators. They don't need to innovate internally, they can simply wait for others to innovate and then sign a big cheque (check for you Americans). So long as they concentrate on their main goal (selling adverts) they'll stay ahead for a good while yet.
    • by 500HP ( 1009671 )
      I don't think the computing public (and some analysts for that matter) understand how Microsoft and Google differ WRT innovation. Microsoft spends $6B annual on R&D. They own patents that currently aren't reasonable to move to production because of hardware and network limitations. I fully expect these innovations are going to once again revolutionize software in less than 20 years. Google, OTOH, is working on catching Microsoft in software as a service. They are also working to adopt a Web 2.0 (is ther
      • by MORB ( 793798 )
        Microsoft spends $6B annual on R&D. They own patents that currently aren't reasonable to move to production because of hardware and network limitations.

        Microsoft is not able to innovate. They can't get an OS or a GUI framework right even though most of the concepts involved were invented decades ago, so I don't think they are able to implement the stuff their R&D department comes up with in a practical way.

        Besides, Microsoft has an history of being followers, not leaders. They don't introduce new th
        • by 500HP ( 1009671 )
          That simply isn't the case. IE is free of charge, VS is free of charge (for all intents and purposes), UI does not have to be the prettiest to be effective. There is a pattern in leading and following. MSFT reacts to the little things like browsers and refactoring because there aren't billions to be made from it. As an investor I applaud those sound business practices. Even Search, while intesting from Ad Revenue perspective is only interesting; the stickiness is what sells Ads....not the technology. Look
          • by MORB ( 793798 )
            UI does not have to be the prettiest to be effective.

            No, but it has to have a good usability. They are horribly lagging behind in that area. Open the project properties or the configuration manager in visual studio 2005, for instance.

            As an investor I applaud those sound business practices.

            And as a (potential) customer, I despise these practices. Especially when their marketing rethoric paints them as an innovative company that is out to improve the life of its customers.

            But five years from now the convergen
  • That pretty soon will have super-mega-corporations such as Microsoggle or Googlesoft. Those sound like some strange Danish name for impotence.

    Anyhow.. Google has already dropped the ball as far as online applications, with the acquistion of Writely and Google spreadsheets, calendar, and email already so previlant. Microsoft needs to get on their game to keep up in the online application market.

  • by Coco Lopez ( 886067 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @08:42AM (#16671863)
    I'm Scott McNealy, and I approve this message... D'oh!
  • He argues that Microsoft and Google are focusing so much on each other, that both will either fail to notice the landscape is changing underfoot -- or will be unable to adapt quickly enough.

    This is the usual rant from pundits. Unfortunately, it does not help at all. This pundit, if he's one, doesn't tell us how exactly the "landscape is changing underfoot." These are events that are seemingly happening now, so the pundit should be able to say what is being ignored.

    Advice to slashdotters: Ignore these kin

    • It's like the scene from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, where the students are giving a presentation, "...it's like computers dud...wow...."

      Do any of these jackasses know what they are talking about? WTF is the "happy medium?" Some happy person who talks to the dead?

      The moron says both Google and Microsoft are chasing the wrong dream but then say look out Mozilla and Adobe are catching up in your chase after the wrong dream. Earth to Houston, we have a problem here.

      Look the internet is not dead nor is
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'll continue to use purely desktop/workstation applications as long as I possibly can.

    I have not been impressed by any of the Web-based applications, especially those that make heavy use of AJAX. I've found them to be nothing blow slow, bloated pieces of fecal matter. Instead of helping me get my work done efficiently, they become a productivity barrier. To me, that's unacceptable.

    Take email. While I know a lot of people like Google's GMail interface, I think it's horrid. It breaks stuff like opening messa
  • by otacon ( 445694 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @08:48AM (#16671921)
    1. Bandwidth; until ultra high speed internet connections are available everywhere, it will hinder innovation. Corporations can afford these lines DS3/OC3+++ but the average home user still has a crappy dsl connection or dial-up god forbid. Not exactly enough to run soley on web based content. Could you imagine Windows going even slower if it was Web Based?

    2. Reliability; Using all web apps or a web based OS would be ridiculous. What happens when your DS3 circuit goes down at your company? Yeah sure we already rely on the internet for job related things and internet downtime does kill productivity, but it doesn't render your computer useless, you can still write code, do accounting stuff or whatever it is that you do.
    • by cucucu ( 953756 )
      Reliability; Using all web apps or a web based OS would be ridiculous. What happens when your DS3 circuit goes down at your company?

      I work for a Fortune 500 and internal applications (even those hosted on server in my site) suffer far more outages (by many orders of magnitude) than gmail and google talk.

      I think it is widely accepted that the problem maintaining 100% application uptime is more difficult than network connectivity.

      What is an important factor is corporate wariness from hosting data off-site.
    • 2. Reliability; Using all web apps or a web based OS would be ridiculous. What happens when your DS3 circuit goes down at your company? Yeah sure we already rely on the internet for job related things and internet downtime does kill productivity, but it doesn't render your computer useless, you can still write code, do accounting stuff or whatever it is that you do.

      Sadly, this isn't the case anymore. With the increased number of apps that search servers to validate/retrieve licenses upon launch, its very

      • by kfg ( 145172 )
        With the increased number of apps that search servers to validate/retrieve licenses upon launch, its very possible a computer can become almost completely useless without a network connection.

        I, for one, welcome the day when I need to rely on our propriatary code Internet overlords to run vi.

        KFG
    • by BJBob ( 869475 )
      I hear what you say about bandwidth, etc., but are we missing the point here?

      While this is important for internet/extranet, a lot of users will employ browser apps from within their firewalls (accounts systems, for example), using internal web servers - so no weak links in connectivity.
    • "...and internet downtime does kill productivity..."

      Not quite sure about that, when the Internet link is down, that's when a lot of us START working.
    • Basically you're right about bandwidth. For the majority of users today -- and for many, many years to come -- web users are going to get dismal performance from web based applications.

      And I think it's unlikely that many people whose jobs cause them to live in Word or Excel for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, are going to change to on-line alternatives any time soon.

      But ... the are other factors. Budget for example. A lot of users do about three documents a year and spreadsheets maybe twice a decade.

      • by jp10558 ( 748604 )
        Open Office or the like...? There are still local apps that compete with MSOffice. Free local apps in this case still might (ought?) beat web ones.
        • ***Open Office or the like...? There are still local apps that compete with MSOffice. Free local apps in this case still might (ought?) beat web ones.***

          You're correct, but that's a different issue -- why do folks pay Microsoft money for MSOffice when there are free products that do the job every bit as well? Beats me. Yes, there are a small number of Microsoft office product users that genuinely need the real thing because they need VBA macros or because of their support arrangements and such. I'd put

    • I think this really boils down to an application distribution question, not a "client/server" vs. "Web app" vs. "desktop app" discussion. Most apps are really all 3 these days (even those "web apps" are running local "code" with Javascript in a browser). There are some nice qualities to "content" [kotay.com] and I think the toolset for development and distribution, as well as the context for execution [kotay.com] of the next gen of apps is what the discussion is about in the article...
      ---
      graphically speaking [kotay.com]
    • Reliability; Using all web apps or a web based OS would be ridiculous. What happens when your DS3 circuit goes down at your company? Yeah sure we already rely on the internet for job related things and internet downtime does kill productivity, but it doesn't render your computer useless, you can still write code, do accounting stuff or whatever it is that you do.

      Actually, in a lot of situations you can't. My company makes windows applications that require a live database connection to work because they're u
    • Seems reliable enough to me. I can't remember the last time my Internet connection went down either at home or at work, except when there was a power failure.
    • Quote from the article:

      "The days of purely desktop-based applications are clearly numbered, but so are the days of exclusively web-based apps."

      No "all web apps or web based OS" mentioned here.

      In other words, parent topic's rant about pure-web based apps, while interesting, is off topic, not to mention boring. The article's author is looking beyond Web 2.0 - why don't you give it a try as well?

  • by Dekortage ( 697532 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @08:50AM (#16671947) Homepage

    Microsoft is a very reactive company; when the landscape changes, they will eventually adapt, though it may take years. Google, however, is setting the pace in many ways, and has a boggling number of development efforts in the works that are still ahead of most other companies. So I disagree these two companies are somehow in the same predicament.

    Anyway, from the article: "The days of purely desktop-based applications are clearly numbered, but so are the days of exclusively web-based apps. Both Microsoft and Google are racing toward a happy medium. However, they aren't the only players in town, not by a long shot. Both Mozilla and Adobe are well positioned to take advantage of desktop and web convergence. Companies offering solutions that connect desktop and web apps together will get their chance too. Calendaring and project management are two obvious choices, but every productivity app deserves to be re-examined."

    The author also says "in the spirit of open source I'm happy to dispense my advice freely...." Continuing that spirit, I'm happy to modify your advice so it actually works. Adobe will never go up against Microsoft, Google or others in developing their own "web convergence" applications (word processors, calendars, whatever). Adobe is in the business of enabling communication. If that means in print, they've got it (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, etc.). If it means in portable documents, they've got it (PDF, now FlashPaper too). If it means web development, they've got it (Flash, Dreamweaver, GoLive, Flex, Cold Fusion, etc.). Adobe makes tools for designers and builders; they don't make the end product. The author of the article has missed this point.

    • by blowdart ( 31458 )
      Google, however, is setting the pace in many ways, and has a boggling number of development efforts in the works that are still ahead of most other companies.

      But they're not goggle developments. Look at all their recent releases, pretty much all acquisitions. Google aren't on the cutting edge, they're simply buying it and that's going to be a big problem; they aren't keeping up at all with their own developments and the more they buy the more trouble there will be integrating.

      • by jp10558 ( 748604 )
        Part of the problem is Google is trying to out MS MS in following the buy out lots of startups for cool technology. That can work, but MS has LOTS of money and can likely buy out more companies than Google can. Also, MS has more infrastructure and experiance in rebranding and integrating purchased products.

        While I don't deny that the buy out a startup is a valid business strategy, I wonder if trying to do the same thing as Microsoft makes sense for a company as different as Google (I.E. they don't sell soft
    • I actually think Microsoft may be ahead of the curve on this one, though it may be accidental and most people at Microsoft may not even know it. In my opinion, for all the coolness of Web 2.0, web applications are still limited. They can't do all the things desktop apps can, and if you network connection goes down, you're screwed. Where desktop apps fail is that they tie to you a specific desktop and they need to be installed. You can't just pull up Microsoft Office at your friends house unless he has i

    • Adobe will never go up against Microsoft, Google or others in developing their own "web convergence" applications (word processors, calendars, whatever). Adobe is in the business of enabling communication.

      They won't make word processors and calendars because there's little profit to be had in that unless you can couple it with a context-sensitive ad network (like google's), which adobe doesn't have. But they are most definitely going head to head with microsoft.

      Adobe is readying a flash-based platform for d
      • Now I read the article. OK. Mea culpa. It's all in there.
      • "But they [Adobe] are most definitely going head to head with microsoft."

        I agree they're going head to head with MS on web development tools. But the article was about the actual web apps, not the development tools. Adobe is not going to get into that market.

  • Large static structures (companies) are less and less significant. People join many more networks, when it's simple & cheap to do so.

    This affects the way we work. Traditional desktop software becomes less and less important. For example the bulk of work I used to do using a word processor now gets hammered out in wikis. An incredible, and increasing, amount of work happens just by email.

    The future of online collaboration and work probably lies in today's games, anyhow.
    • I get all my work done on Slashdot. I'm pretty sure that's what they pay me for.

    • An incredible, and increasing, amount of work happens just by email.

      Eh, I'm beginning to think more and more that this is a dangerous direction that the "first world" economies are taking: they forget that real wealth comes not from talking about things, but actual matter-bashing (that is, things like agriculture, manufacturing, etc.). I don't know about you, but I don't get much "work" done when writing emails or attending meetings - I only get "real" work done when I measure physical data or cause physic

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sique ( 173459 )
        There is an old saying in Germany: Ist der Handel noch so klein, bringt er mehr als Arbeit ein (May the trade be small, it still yields more than work). You may look at any economy you want: the people who make a living by bashing on matter are always outnumbered by people moving things or agree to each other how to let other people move things.

        Even if you look into a mine: There are much more people moving ore or coal from the deep pit to the surface or from the surface to the processing plant or whatever
      • by pieterh ( 196118 )
        To a large extent, human society is a distributed problem-solving machine. Only a part of this is actual physical work - agriculture, mining, etc, A large - very large - part is pure information processing.

        Writing emails, discussing on Slashdot, it's actually part of the human machine. This is how we refine solutions to complex problems that we may not even be aware of. This is how we prevent conflicts, create societies, and basically manage to be a species on holiday. (Oh, and cheap energy also helps a
  • They've been saying this for years and all we have to show for it are some nifty AJA[X]pplications that are dependent on network latency and bandwidth for responsiveness (google maps for example, fails to load all the squares at least once each time I use it).

    As long as broadband is sold as content and not a service, we won't get very far.
  • Desktop-based applications are dying. Internet-based applications will gain more prominence. Convergence of everything, everywhere, all the time will be the new modality. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

    Anyone have any new predictions - ones that haven't been bandied about already for 10 years?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      • This will be the year of Linux on the desktop
      • *BSD is dead
      • Microsoft/Google/Oracle/IBM are dead
  • What I mean is, it's highly fashionable to talk about web apps, web2, ajax, younameit buzzcrap, and the death of everything else. Accessing certain types of applications and certain types of data from everywhere is very nice, very useful, nobody doubts that. But it's insane to say only web-based apps have a future, and only network storages and remote data storages are the answer. For the average crowds, maybe, and in numbers this is what matters most probably, but hey, it's still those people who work with
    • Perhaps one day those those who work with local data, local files, etc. will have no choice but to move to a remote storage provider. This of course could be another big economic boom in itself with all these companies trying to offer the highest security, reliability, and what not. It is probably unlikely that this will happen any time soon for these people, and I understand what you are saying, almost 100% web-based apps will be the way to go for the masses in the future.
  • In order to keep the Free Market free, I have actually reduced the amount I use Google. In order to keep the market a little more competitive, I use FireFox. I believe that monopolies are created by market desire; which, the consumers naturally desire to create. Thus, if you want to keep the market free, you must continuously seek underdog alternatives.
    • by sydb ( 176695 )
      Monopolies are not created by "market desire". They are created by ignorance and laziness. If you're ignorant of competitors, you stick with what you know. If you're lazy, even if you know the competitor, you stick with what you've got because it takes no effort. Monopoly marketing is about keeping you in ignorance and making it difficult to change. Examples, I am sure, abound.

      Fighting monopolies is not about looking for "underdogs" (which means "less competitive", is that what you meant?), but about being
    • This is a excellent point and a very insightful comment. People can only affect change to the extent that *they* are willing to support those companies that compete against the status quo.
    • by zecg ( 521666 )
      Not using Google because of the principle of it seems very extreme and very impractical to me. Also, it actually seems to run against everything I've heard about free markets. If you want to be idealistic, why not just force the per-session cookie so you don't leave them a trail?
    • You still use your Amiga, don't you :)
  • A lot of IT has been processed or held centrally on large servers since time began, the invention of the desktop PC didn't kill this off and both systems have lived happily side by side.

    In the meantime there have been constant predictions that computing will move en-masse and irrevocably to one system or another with only slight nods to reality ( yes, we will keep the desktop PC but these will only be thin clients for our massive array of backend processing power on which everything will be run ).

    This artic
  • is pretty obvious.

    I think Microsoft will have the easiest time adapting at this point. They can clearly throw almost any amount of dollars at whatever new trend comes along. Look at what they're doing with the on-line music store. They seem to be waiting to see where the other people are going and then creating their version of it.

    So given that they've got a pretty solid grip on the desktop end, it's not too hard to imagine them taking their 'live' stuff further until it all blends together. Google will hav
  • Man, why is everyone so polar with people? The desktop OS will not be becoming just a browser. It's that simple. Too many people (like most corporations, for example) do not want their applications hosted on some far away server, and people who have the highest security needs will NEVER allow their apps to be hosted on any machine accessible via a basic internet connection (and no, SSL is not sufficient for, say, equities lending companies). These people want LOCAL software, hosted on internal machines.

    So
  • Microsoft has complete control over the Operating System world.

    Google doesn't have complete control over the Internet.

    Who has a brighter future?
  • Corporations will not want their data filtered out onto the internet, but developments in this area may lead back to a dummy terminal model. Corporations could run an application server that can serve the programs through a browser like interface. No need for loading any apps on the dummy terminals, no need for letting users load anything except that which the application server is serving up. With client side scripting taking half the weight and server side processing taking the other, the split makes it l
  • "...Adobe [is] well positioned to take advantage of desktop and web convergence."
    Let's hope they keep the bloat to a minimum. I certainly like the PDF format, but the latest version of the reader is SO huge that it's very difficult to use on a "lesser" PC. The real key to successful Web/Desktop convergence will be to keep bloat to a minimum.
  • Sneaking in under the radar has been the iTunes Store from Apple. It is a desktop app; no, it is a web-based app. Actually, it is both, and a very successful model for the future.
    • When I think about sucessful convergence of a web and a desktop app, I think Amarok. It's in the same vein as iTunes in that it utilizes an app on the desktop to connect to relevant web content: lyrics, wikipedia, and more. And it's free (as in freedom).
  • Platform independence is a myth. IE is not FireFox is not Safari is not iCab is not Lynx. Each has quirks and each web app will need to be programmed to handle each one of those quirks. Eventually it'll be a different web app for each browser which starts to look a lot like what we've got now with different apps for different hardware architectures.

    We've tried this platform-independence idea before. It was called JAVA and despite all the promises we're still running a vast majority of architecture-dependent
  • 1) Create 'company' with a handful of people, and a 'product' deriving from microsoft office
    2) Write in blogs as a "Software Architect"
    3) ???
    4) Profit!
  • "The browser is uniquely positioned among all applications as the desktop gateway to every existing web application. It's so obvious it seems trivial."

    A tautology: the thing you use to browse the web is what you use to use the web! Knock me over with a feather.

    "But first the web browser needs a feature. And in the spirit of open source I'm happy to dispense my advice freely: data recognition. Right now the browser excels at data caching, which is how your email pops up on different web pages in any edit bo
  • "but so are the days of exclusively web-based apps."

    Check out the above crap.

    This sentence has exactly the same grammar, wording and certainty of the other likewise sentences that were repeated over and over again by some "experts" (more like extra-zealous or excited tech enthusiasts) about many other subjects that became fads.

    Need proof this above is a crap of bull ? think security and what problems the increasing web-desktop transiency has brought in terms of it - trojans, viruses, identity theft
  • Google and Microsoft have different niches and are not really going head to head. There is no Google OS. MS search is and always will be a joke.

    One place I do think that the web and the desktop are coming together is gaming. Web based games such as http://www.phantasyrpg.com/register.php?step=1&ref =122782 [phantasyrpg.com] mean that you have a client, but most of the work is done server side. This also eliminates the hassle of installing software for your platform. We will continue to develop different clients. Even i

  • Obligatory (Score:1, Funny)

    by Vulcann ( 752521 )
    Convergence between the web and the desktop ... welll

    • But ...will it run Linux
    • Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these!
    • All your desktops are belong to us
    • In Soviet Russia, the web owns you.
    There ... now we can get along with all the real discussions!
  • Java web start, or a similar technology, is the way to go. Of course JWS failed the
    first time around due to Java's ugly UI. Throw in the eclipse rich client and you've
    got the best of all worlds. A remote client you can force updates to, the speed and
    flexiblity of a thick client and it looks good with native UI components. If I have a choice
    I'll use that next time.

    Still, I've played with mozilla/XUL and written an in-house AJAX application. They still
    leave a lot to be desired. XUL/javascript is a pain as moz
  • Why does this whole net-services idea persist? It totally sucks.
    Why should my word processor need the internet just to write a doc or open a spreadsheet? I'm sure it works out for Microsoft's marketing division just fine, but there are absolutely no benefits and a lot of disadvantages compared to running your own app locally.

    What about if I want to write a document somewhere where the internet isn't availaable? e.g. on an aircraft or in a country with less internet copnnectivity?

    What if I value my privacy a
  • Interesting article but I think the author misses a couple of important points. Microsoft's entire strategy is to find a way offer a best of both worlds approach where their platforms offers the "richness" (hate that word but not sure of a better one...) of great client (e.g. Windows) apps and the ease of development/updating and deployment of Web apps. Easier said than done. The irony is that...Microsoft actually might have the right strategy. Microsoft has been saying for years that it would be bad for u
  • "The article concludes that the days of purely desktop-based applications are clearly numbered"

    That in itself is enough for me. It was the same story 10 years ago. Desktop applications are still living well and anyone involved in UI development knows they're coming back strong. The Web 2.0 hype won't live that long.

  • Why the sprint to "merging" the web and the desktop into something that tries to be both and does neither very well? It's like all those new cell phones that all you to make calls/take pictures/listen to music/write documents/diagnose your foot pain/force your enemies to cower before you/etc, yet they do none of those tasks very well. Why not just admit there are something tasks that must be done locally, somethings that must be done remotely, and only a handful that can be done in either domain? Why the
  • The WYSE "slim client" has already quietly replaced the PC as a way to access the web. How long will it be until a subscription with an ISP includes a package containing roll-up wireless keyboard, wireless mouse, and maybe a roll-up display?
  • the days of purely desktop-based applications are clearly numbered
    alright, give me a web-based webbrowser
  • It's interesting that they mention Mozilla since a lot of Mozilla's staff is employed at Google.
  • The article concludes that the days of purely desktop-based applications are clearly numbered, but so are the days of exclusively web-based apps.

    I've been hearing about the death of the desktop for at least 20 years. It only makes sense that applications for it are finally dieing. :)

    Client/Server applications have been around a lot longer than the WWW. However, the mainframe/smart-terminal combinations have never been popular with the end-user. The WWW, and the Internet in general, is very good at dist
  • by asylumx ( 881307 )
    How handy that a user named "ReadWriteWeb" submitted an article that is hosted by... you guessed it... readwriteweb.com. Come on Taco, how much did they pay you for this advertisement?
    • How handy that a user named "ReadWriteWeb" submitted an article that is hosted by... you guessed it... readwriteweb.com. Come on Taco, how much did they pay you for this advertisement?
      No, the capitalisation's different, must be a coincidence.
  • Why do these morons always seem to assume that I will be happy to give control of my data and programs to an external entity? There will be NO convergence of web and desktop applications. Period. Reasons:

    I want total control over my data. It is private. My business data is also not to be available to others except in ways that I determine.

    I want total control over my programs. I do not want to be charged for each time I use a program. I do not want my programs changing behaviour without my explicit consent.
  • When John Milan says "the days of purely desktop-based applications are clearly numbered, but so are the days of exclusively web-based apps" - he is absolutely correct, but not for the reasons given.

    The writing is on the wall people -- we're already seeing a demand for hybrid applications.

    Example from my work area -- online education:

    Teachers publish their course materials online, create online tests, grade assignments, lead discussion forums online. So far, so good. Now they want ways work on their mater
  • The day I can copy/paste all the internet to my desktop will be the day I am convinced.

Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance? -- Charlie McCarthy

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