Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Turning Google Into a Dumb Pipe

Jared Newman:

And yet, when you consider everything Microsoft has said and done over the last year, under CEO Satya Nadella, the company’s new strategy goes deeper than pushing its own services on rival platforms. What Microsoft really wants to do—and what apps like Sunrise and Acompli enable—is to create a new kind of service that sits above all the others. Essentially, it’s trying to turn its cloud competitors into dumb pipes.


In both cases, you can use those additional services regardless of who’s providing your email or calendars. The fact that you’ve hitched your wagon to iCloud mail or Google Calendar ceases to matter. Acompli’s new Outlook branding seems symbolic in that regard; to Microsoft, all email is now Outlook, even if it comes from another company’s servers.

Wayne Caswell:

Microsoft can overlay Apple and Google to add functionality, but keeping it all working well as Apple and Google evolve their own products and strengthen competitive barriers to entry will be a nightmare. These companies won’t stand still.

Matt McLarty:

The “dumb pipe” situation arises when a company gets caught between two smart endpoints. For example, telcos are continually trying to elevate themselves from dumb pipe status, but struggling in the face of companies like Apple (iPhone at one end, iTunes at the other). In this case, Microsoft is implementing the user-facing endpoint, but relying on smart endpoints like Gmail and Evernote, most likely through their APIs that have implicit terms and conditions. Those endpoints are beyond Microsoft’s control, unless they play dirty and try to hack around them, as pointed out in one of the other comments here. Very shortsighted.

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