Dashboards and Data Mining – anticipating what Information should be at your fingertips. Thats the new point of attack on the desktop – and Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are leading the charge. Well maybe Google and Yahoo are leading and as always Redmond is following, supremely confident that it will be able to beg, borrow, and steal the other guys good ideas and combine it with its franchise hold on the desktop to secure distinct competitive advantage.

Regardless – just as in delivering a fully functional Browser Experience (vs Firefox, Mozilla, Safari, Opera, etc) and a fast, secure Desktop Application Framework (vs RIA, Linux, Apple OS/X) – Redmond has not just good but fiercely good competition. Would that this had occurred in 1997-8 – and there would have been no need for those damnable Antitrust proceedings …. oops …. “cutting of f the oxygen” would have gotten an Eliot-Spitzer-like, no-admission-of-guilt fine but considerably reduced – maybe $100M instead of the $4B and chump change for a iron-fist desktop monopoly currently paid out.

But the key questions on the BI driven desktop are:
a)who has the BI data mining and personalization expertise to make the Smart Desktop actually smart, helpful but not hopelessly inept and intrusive ?
b)who has the massive computing power to deliver “the Experience” to the desktop ??

In the case of a)BI Expertise its hard to pick among Google – great pragmatic experience with mining for meaning as demonstrated in Google Adsense and the Big Engine; Microsoft – a superior data mining tool in its Analytics Server and no slouches on search strategies and work done at Microsoft Research; Yahoo – has also been delivering a pretty good search engine and strongly customized/personalized experiences. Weak link – possibly Yahoo.

In the case of b)Delivering “the Experience” to hundreds of millions of desktops the contest is definitely skewed. Google and Yahoo both do this bigtime but Google always sets the standards – Google itself plus Google Mail at 20GB per user and great experience; everybody else gets to play catch up. But Yahoo desktop and Games is pretty pervasive while also being remarkably responsive. Microsoft is not out to lunch; just not exactly first rate.

Why? Because Google and Yahoo are using googles of cheap, efficient and powerful Linux servers while Microsoft …. Microsoft may well yet get to eat its “Get the Flaps” ad campaign words on the comparison of Windows Server versus Linux . Watch very closely and carefully exactly how and and on what hardware and OS software Microsoft delivers its Desktop Experience on .

(c)JBSurveyer 2005