Cloud Computing or Chip Advancements?

I’m sure others noticed that the NY Times ran very similar,
except polar opposite stories on Sunday and Monday. The two articles are Google Gets Ready to Rumble with Microsoft by Steve Lohr and Miguel Helft and Faster Chips are Leaving Programmers in Their Dust by John Markoff.

Here is the summary. The former article describes a behavior
change where people trust their high speed internet connection to log into a data
center located somewhere else in the world (probably load balanced to multiple
sites around the world). The latter article describes CPU chips becoming faster
and more efficient in their processing. Every personal computer whether it is a
Mac, a Dell, or a cell phone has one. Microsoft makes a lot of money on the
operating system (OS); the software that organizes and instructs the hardware
(chips) from an end user perspective.

Here is why they are polar opposites. Google can store
specialized OS like software in a data center that is very cheap for the end
user to access. Google, as noted in the article, have reduced the cost of their
data center down beyond what anyone else can. The specialized OS like software
is based on something called FOSS or Free and Open Source Software. This means
it doesn’t cost too much to sell because no one person really owns it. So as
long as you have a high speed connection and acceptable end user hardware, you
can compute really cheaply and easily. Microsoft is banking on ever increasing
power and decreasing cost of CPU chips. If they continue on their paths, it
doesn’t motivate the masses to switch off their current behavior. The result is
that Microsoft writes an OS to utilize the chip power and software programs to
reside on the hardware the end user has. No high speed internet connection is
needed. They can also charge more for their product because the end user wants
to “own” the software and what I mean is that they want it installed on their
local machine.

My prediction is that the average computer user will
continue to purchase Microsoft based products. Microsoft will lower its prices
to ensure this. But niches will move to cloud computing. And it won’t come just
from Google. Amazon, Yahoo, EDS, and others will offer services to the niches
i.e. small businesses, schools, and foundations. I also see cell phones and
cloud computing partnering in a major way to offer addictive services such as proximity
network gaming. The upshot of all this is the end user will benefit
tremendously – both in cost and usability.

Feel free to visit my two older posts on this subject:
Cloud Computing
Cloud Computing and IBM


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