In 2001 Paul Graham wrote an article claiming that Microsoft was dead. He had so much pepper from it that he had to write a follow-up explaining himself. At the time Microsoft was at the top of the Nasdaq index, and they were worth 20 times more than number 2. Microsoft ipso facto was computer technology in 2001. The idea that they could somehow collapse was impossible to imagine.
10 years later and they were number 5 on the Nasdaq index, and they've never been able to take back their former glory.
Back in 2001 Microsoft released something we used to refer by as the XHR object. I'm not going to explain the technical details, but the XHR object gave developers the ability to create "Rich Internet Applications", similar to the type of web sites we're now so used to we take it for granted. The XHR object allowed developers to asynchronously retrieve data from some server, and use this data to manipulate some web page. It allowed us to create dynamic web pages.
This was a big deal, because up until that point you only had one (real) solution to create "apps", which was the Windows API. Sure you had Qt, wxWidgets, and even my own library called SmartWin++. But these libraries were fringe libraries, posing little or no threat to Microsoft, because of "distribution". Microsoft basically owned the "distribution channel" for apps, which was Windows. Exactly how Microsoft did this needs dozens of articles to explain, but the point is that at the time Microsoft seemed invincible. XHR completely changed that.
Microsoft created the invention that destroyed themselves - The irony ...
AI as a threat to Google
AI fundamentally changes our expectations to the internet. AI allows us to get faster answers to our questions. Google isn't technically a search engine, it's an "answering machine", where people look for answers to whatever questions they have. Search results is just the means Google is using to deliver the answer. Search is "the distribution channel for answers".
However, if I Google something, I'll need to go through a list of websites to find the answer to my question. This process might some times take hours, depending upon the complexity of the answer I am looking for. With an AI system such as our Schwoogle I can have my answer in 30 seconds.
I created Schwoogle in 2 Sundays! Literally!
By combining DuckDuckGo with OpenAI I was able to create a better answering machine than Google, and I did it in 10 hours. I'm a decent software developer, but I'm not unique, at least not that unique. This implies that any 14 year old kid with a laptop and some basic PHP knowledge can now at least in theory entirely replace Google's consumer value proposition in a weekend. Do you see the pattern here ...?
Google's own invention (AI) destroys Google, the same way Microsoft's own invention (XHR) destroyed Microsoft ...
Rough days for Google
When OpenAI went viral in December of 2022, Google sounded red alarm. Google diverged almost every single software developer they had to AI projects, and they even called back Sergey Brin from his retirement to help "save the company". Google knows they're in trouble, but the Djinn is already out of the bottle. It was too late. I want to emphasize that Google literally invented the technology (GPT) that OpenAI is using.
Google rapidly smashed together Bard, and on release day they lost 100 billion dollars in market evaluation in some few minutes, because their AI would hallucinate, making investors lose faith in the company.
Yesterday the New York Post published an article about how Google's own Bard thinks Google is done, and that the Department of Justice should charge Google for being a monopoly and being in violation of anti trust laws, which they will (and I quote Bard here); "Inevitably will win". Let that sink in for a while please ...
Google's own AI believes Google is a criminal monopoly and in violations of anti trust laws!
Google is obviously not dead, they're profitable to an extent we've never seen before. However, I want to finish the article by using Paul Graham's explanation from his second article where he explained what he meant by saying Microsoft is dead. Notice, I changed it from Microsoft to Google as I paraphrase Paul ...
Google is obviously not dead, they're more like an airplane 30,000 feet up in the air, that all of a sudden lost their fuel. They will be able to float in air for a very long time without any noticable difference, but the end is inevitable, it's simply a matter of gravity doing its job. They will hit the ground ...