Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Next for Sun, Google, Java: Walking papers for the fat client cartel? | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com

Next for Sun, Google, Java: Walking papers for the fat client cartel? | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com


The Sun Google partnership is one of tremendous potential. It is also an "in your face" announcement to Microsoft.

Microsoft. is big and tough. However, Microsoft. is selling SUV's when the public is ready for high mileage hybrids.

Every generation of the Microsoft. operating system requires millions of users to buy bigger, faster machines. More memory and faster speed but most of us use the machine to send email and to surf the net. We are not rocket scientist running quadradic equations.

Sun has long professed the goal of making the net the computer. Google has the same goal. Today's press conference was a disappointment to many bloggers. Give the guys at ZD Net credit for a deeper understanding than the other guys.

The report from ZD Net notes that through the use of AJAX "there is little if anything that Googleand Sun won't be able to deliver to our desktops, that, until today, required a significant amount of real resources (processor, hard drive, memory, etc)". In other words, consumers do not need a big expensive computer or big expensive programs if they are connected to Google and Googleand Sun through the internet. In other words, a free light weight computer supplied by Google could give the common user all the benefits without the hassles.

Don't you just love to install software upgrades, to add equipment like hard drives and to purchase a machine for hundreds of dollars? Upgrades to Gmail or to StarOffice just happen; no need for the consumer to be involved.

It is interesting at how many things have been tried before that will work now. The current situation in computers is similar to when the internal combustion engine was developed. Prior to this time, inventors tried to develop steam powered trucks to carry freight. Railroads worked but the steam engine was not practical on a wagon road. The idea of an email terminal, web TV and other "light weight" computers has been tried. If Google develops Java to run on the desktop, it will make sophisticated applications just a click away. Why should I buy excell to run a spread sheet when I know how to use only one/one thousandth of its power? I would love to occasionally post a column of figures and have the computer sum them but I don't need the humungous power of Excel.

No one knows the revenue potentials here. Google will develop free WIFI in San Francisco in order to track the traffic. Google will learn much from the San Fran trial. One important thing that Google, EBAY and others already know is that dominating market share in auctions and search is key. The San Francisco dry cleaner will want to advertise on the network that is used by the most people in his neighborhood. There is no prohibition from advertising on more than one service but if you only want to advertise one place you want to go with the biggest and best. If the cleaner advertises on two services and Google sends him all the business, he is likely to renew with Google.

Lets suppose that Sun is able to capture a significant share of word processing software and that Google is tightly integrated. How many times might the writer of a letter somewhere decide to search for a reference, a mailing address or some other information. If you get the picture, it is another case of a free service being provided to millions of consumers with revenues coming from vendors. Sometimes it is hard to envision the revenue being that large; early in the life of TV the same question hauted the industry. Radio was already big but the cost to set up a TV station was astronomical relative to the cost of a radio station. Could advertising revenues possibly cover the costs?

The reality is that billions of the worlds citizens are spending increasing amounts of time using the internet for work and entertainment; TV, Games, Email, Telephony, Video, etc. These citizens will make decisons based on what they see. It is true that out of sight is out of mind. Google does not need to make money off StarOffice, if it means the consumer does not need Microsoft. . If the consumer does not need Microsoft , he can stay in front of Google screens all day and night.

Sometimes, I probably over emphasize the "free" services. In high growth areas, sales are much more important that profits. If you get all the customers you can locked into your product or service, you can later figure out how to charge them. Google sets limits to its promisses. For example, the free WIFI in San Francisco is up to a certain speed. Millions of folks may sign up for free WIFI and later decide they need more speed. The key here is that the total charge to the consumer will still be substantially less than what the consumer now pays for several services. My total "cable" bill is quite high, I pay a seperate Vonage bill, a seperate cell phone bill and I still have two land based phone lines. Wow, I would love for Google to offer free wireless in my home town. I would gladly pay extra for extra capacity and still save a bundle.

I buy Dell computers but do not own the stock. I would love to buy low cost terminals. Why own a computer company stock if what you want to buy is cheap (or free) terminals?

In just a few years, the hand held or car based computer is going to be used far more than the desk top. One might ought to replace ones Dell or INTC postitions with a good battery company or a fuel cell company.

A couple of my relatives have purchased Sun(SUNW). We believe JAVA is going to be on the desk top and the hand held computer in a big way. Microsoft has the assets but Google has the fresh business model and the momentum. Do the Google Gulp!