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Google CEO Larry Page Lashes Out at Microsoft

The rivalry between Google and Microsoft took on a new twist this week as the two companies accused each other of providing selective interoperability. While that's nothing new, the Google CEO Wednesday kicked off a tirade of barbs at a surprise appearance during the company's annual developer conference where he lashed out at Microsoft and accused the company of impeding interoperability.

During his unscheduled presentation at Google I/O, Page criticized Microsoft for integrating the Gmail chat/IM service into Outlook.com but not letting Google do the same with its service.

"The Web is not advancing as fast as it should be," Page said. "We struggle with companies like Microsoft. We would like to see more open standards and more people involved in those ecosystems."  A day later, Google slapped Microsoft with a demand that it remove its Windows Phone 8 YouTube app from the Windows Store for violations of the company's terms of service.

Is there a double standard here or does Google have a legitimate beef that Microsoft is tinkering with the app by blocking ad content, while not returning in kind interoperability with its IM service?  The reality is, when it comes to interoperability, it's not hard to find both companies (actually most IT players) guilty of hypocrisy.

Nevertheless, Microsoft continues to make strides in its support for platforms not born in Redmond, most recently by extending support for Android and Apple's iOS. While that hasn't led to a version of Office for those mobile platforms as many would love to see, I saw first-hand at this week's Visual Studio Live! conference in Chicago, produced by Redmond magazine parent company 1105 Media, that Microsoft has stepped up its tooling for those mobile environments, including its Windows Azure Mobile Services offering.

Suffice to say, this isn't altruism here on Microsoft's part. Android and iOS are by far the most widely used platforms for phones and tablets these days. Google revealed 900 million devices worldwide now run Android, up from 400 million last year at this time and 100 million two years ago, said Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice present for the Android, Chrome and Apps teams, in his keynote address at the developer conference.

So it's in Microsoft's interest to reach those users lest it provoke further erosion of the Windows and Office platforms. At the same time, Page shouldn't talk out of both sides of his mouth. Instead of effectively saying "can't we all love one another," if he wants interoperability, he might want to refine his approach. It all boils down to selective interoperability and this week's crossfire is only the latest chapter.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/17/2013 at 1:15 PM


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