Google vs. Microsoft

Useful New York Times review of the current state of play.

“For most people,” [Google CEO Eric Schmidt] says, “computers are complex and unreliable,” given to crashing and afflicted with viruses. If Google can deliver computing services over the Web, then “it will be a real improvement in people’s lives,” he says.

To explain, Mr. Schmidt steps up to a white board. He draws a rectangle and rattles off a list of things that can be done in the Web-based cloud, and he notes that this list is expanding as Internet connection speeds become faster and Internet software improves. In a sliver of the rectangle, about 10 percent, he marks off what can’t be done in the cloud, like high-end graphics processing. So, in Google’s thinking, will 90 percent of computing eventually reside in the cloud?

“In our view, yes,” Mr. Schmidt says. “It’s a 90-10 thing.” Inside the cloud resides “almost everything you do in a company, almost everything a knowledge worker does.”