While Google wants users to focus on the browser, Microsoft may be planning to take the battle over Web-based applications and services to its undisputed home turf -- the desktop.
That's the reaction of several analysts in a smart InformationWeek piece on Redmond's much-publicized declaration that it will embrace open competition. Microsoft promised that it will allow OEMs to set other companies' software and related Web services as system defaults. (Several reports have made a big deal of users being able to make that choice, when of course they have always been able to do so.)
Most analysts concur that "openness" won't stop standard Windows configs from tying Windows Media Player to an MS online music service or Office to an MS online collaboration system.
Web applications, as implemented today, typically are launched within a browser, which by and large creates a level competitive playing field. Microsoft's clearest advantage is in creating deep ties between its Web content services and pre-installed software, even if those applets are little more than front doors to browser-based processing.