The importance of the thick client platform
It amazes me that so many people seem happy to predict the demise of Microsoft over the next few years, whilist they seem happy to evangalise every other thick client platform, from the relativly thin Mozilla platform:
Business 2.0 :: Magazine Article :: In Front :: Microsoft’s Worst Nightmare It all adds up to a business opportunity for startups, established software companies, and Web giants alike. Though Ross and the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation don’t stand to make money, Firefox’s open platform gives it enormous potential to hatch a new class of applications that live on the desktop but do business on the Web. Amazon (AMZN) could build a search application into the browser that lets users buy books without visiting its website. Google could make Web-based Gmail accounts behave like desktop applications such as Outlook. Word processing, calendar applications — virtually anything could be programmed right into Firefox.
To the OpenOffice.org platform, to the much more comprehensive LSB platform, to the huge Linux + GNU platform.
Well to be honest, if there was ever a company that understood the importance of platforms – upon which people can deliver applications – it’s Microsoft and there is plenty of evidence that Microsoft have not forgotten that importance. From .NET, Office, Information Bridge, Indigo, Avalon, Longhorn, WinFS and the next version of IE. Microsoft will not sit still and they will create a great platform – if their track record is anything to go by.
What remains to be seen is if any of the other competing platforms can create something compelling enough to win enough market share before Microsoft release their next generation stuff. Probably the only viable contender is not a thick client platform at all its googles web services infrastructure platform and associated apps, perhaps with some lightweight client services to complement them..
However you can bet that Microsoft – and google to – will make sure that the Windows of the future will provide a great user experience when accessing the google web services platform, as well as the Yahoo one, MSN one and Amazon one. That’s where Microsoft ultimately will differentiate; they won’t require you to make a lifelong commitment to google or any other important application, their platform will host or provide a portal to the lot!