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Tech, Gadgets, Photography, Social Media and Poor Spelling

The Microsoft Effect is rearing its head again, but not by Microsoft.

Back in the 90’s there was within the IT industry something called the Microsoft Effect, it was a simple scenario where Microsoft owned the entire PC market and most of the software on it in the Enterprise. The Open source movement existed but things like OpenOffice, Firefox and Linux were no where near the packages and software they are today. Microsoft Ruled the Roost.

Occasionally a piece of software would come along and challenge Microsoft in a key business area, it would grow, become a de-facto standard as whatever it did and then Microsoft would come along and buy them. The company would get a pay day, put out a press release that “Nothing would change” Microsoft would tell the world “We are going to let the company run just as it has been”

However within a year Microsoft had swallowed the company which by that point had put out a single update on existing software and soon after it ended up in obscurity.

Your Microsoft bashing again? Well no, here are some examples.

Autoroute was the premier pre internet route finding software, installed on your PC you could get turn by turn navigation on your PC before Google and Apple Maps ever sa the twinkle of the internet. Still exists had huge potential in the internet world..

The WebTV product is an adapter that allows a television set to be connected to the Internet, primarily for web browsing and e-mail. The setup includes a web browser, a corded orwireless (e.g., bluetooth or IRDAkeyboard and a connection, using a modemADSLcable Internet access, or power line communication. Think Google TV back in the 90’s well before Apple, Google and XBMC.  This became MSN TV and well that did well

GIANT Company Software, Inc. developed internet security products, including GIANT Spam Inspector, GIANT Popup Inspector, and GIANT AntiSpyware. GIANT’s head office was located in New York, NY, and it also had offices in Chicago and Atlanta, GA. GIANT Company Software was founded by Ronald Franczyk and Andrew Newman in Chicago in November 2000. Microsoft Corporation acquired GIANT on December 16, 2004. Microsoft based its Windows Defender (formerly Microsoft AntiSpyware) program on the core technology of GIANT AntiSpyware.

A list of Microsoft purchases is available on Wikipedia

Why do this? Simple there may be a single component of the company which you want/need to enhance an existing product in your own portfolio. There may be a talent acquisition where you want the people not the product a good example of this is Facebook purchasing FriendFeed or it may just be that its cheaper to purchase the product and kill it than loose the business and do the marketing..

There is a point to this, for a long time maybe due to the popularity of Open source Applications or the slow rise of alternative computing systems like mobiles, Tablets, OSX and Linux this pattern of large companies swallowing smaller companies and then doing nothing with them has slowed down however the pattern is stating to rise again.

Back in July 2012 Google known for its company spending sprees purchased Sparrow, a company who made arguably one of the better if not the best Mac Mail clients. they came out of left field, took the Web by storm, were looking to do a Mac App and then Google Bought them for I’m sure a hefty sum, the project was shut down, no more updates to Sparrow, no IOS Version, gone. Talent Acquired? One would hope that they are busy writing a Gmail Tablet App for Android/IOS which doesn’t suck as much as Googles Current Offering based on the Sparrow code.

Now another Development house  Nik Software who in their own right produce some great top end Digital Photo Software however is probably more widely known for SnapSeed it’s Desktop/IOS Photo Editing software  has been snapped up by Google.

Management of Google went on the offensive last night on Google+ and suggested that the High End software would carry on being updated and developed however no mention of SnapSeed…

While I’m sure as Vic Gundotra is himself a Snapseed user Google will carry on Development of this if only to get it on the Android tablet which is missing a high end photo editing package like SnapSeed however the fact Google are buying App’s Developers and not HTML5 houses is itself interesting for a long time Google have been touting HTML5 as a solid answer to Apps and cross platform applications.

Time will tell what is going to happen, and positive things may come of this, I just hope we are not going on another round of killing innovation and decent apps.

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