Why Is Microsoft Afraid of Google? - Knowledge@Wharton: "This was the dream of Marc Andreessen [co-founder of browser company Netscape Communications] and others back in the mid-1990s when Andreessen boasted that the web would reduce computer operating systems to nothing more than 'a poorly debugged set of device drivers,'' Whitehouse recalls. 'And this is why Microsoft responded so aggressively to the threat of Netscape after [Microsoft Chairman] Bill Gates issued his famous memo warning of an Internet 'tidal wave' that threatened Windows. Netscape didn't succeed. Microsoft managed to thwart Netscape's attempt to establish a new platform on the web.'
Google is not the only company offering products and services that run on a web platform. Feeling the heat, Microsoft has already announced products to compete with those of Adobe (developer of the PDF document format) and Macromedia (developer of Flash and ShockWave software for video and animation), which announced a merger earlier this year. 'To the extent that PDF and the Flash SWF file format could be an emerging platform for web application development,' Whitehouse notes, 'Microsoft has to be worried.'"