Steering Clear of Hype – Google vs Microsoft

In the New York Times on Sunday and in Cnet today the topic was the battle between Google and Microsoft.
Indeed there is a shift away from traditional PC applications to hosted applications accessed via a web browser. However, this is not a battle, it’s about choice. Pure and simple.
For your small businesses, it’s not, a battle but a choice and decision you need to make about what is best for your business.
While much of the tech media (including me at times) have stirred up the issue of this ‘battle’ between hosted and traditional PC software and between Google and Microsoft, the real issue is what are you doing and how you want to do it.

The New York Times writes The growing confrontation between Google and Microsoft promises to be an epic business battle. It is likely to shape the prosperity and progress of both companies, and also inform how consumers and corporations work, shop, communicate and go about their digital lives. Google sees all of this happening on remote servers in faraway data centers, accessible over the Web by an array of wired and wireless devices; a setup known as cloud computing. Microsoft sees a Web future as well, but one whose center of gravity remains firmly tethered to its desktop PC software. Therein lies the conflict.
For small businesses, in the office in particular, much of your work is going to be server based, with files saved on local servers and software installed on local computers. However, for mobile workers it is critical that the server is accessible via the Internet OR that the data is saved on remotely hosted servers.
This sounds like I’m advocating a “Microsoft” centric world – right? I’m not.
Hosted applications are best for specific parts of your business where it makes sense.
For example, considering NetBooks to run your business is a very viable consideration – which would replace QuickBooks and a number of other applications you use now. However, maybe for your business (and clearly millions of others) using the more traditional QuickBooks is best for you.
Maybe you are not ready to start only using online word processors and spreadsheets from Google or ThinkFree and using Microsoft Office is a better choice for you at this time.
I would highly suggest you read Ridgely Evers, founder/CEO of NetBooks article making the cost for the use hosted applications.
You also should read Steve Ballmer’s presentation at Software 2007 on why local software combined with the power of hosted applications is the way to go. I highly suggest you view the video as well.
Lastly, let’s take a look at Intuit’s QuickBooks.
Most of its customers are just fine using the “traditional” version of QuickBooks. However, over 100,000 customers, as of May 2007, are using QuickBooks Online. This is one of the best proofs I can see about the so called “battle” between hosted vs software applications. It’s a choice, not a battle, for small businesses.
The real battle is not a battle but about how you work, how you want to work and what makes the most sense for your business, customers and partners.