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yes, chrome was part of google's hedge against microsoft, but microsoft poorly understand the web and badly bungled their internet strategy, to the point that it seemed that they were desperately trying to cede the leadership position to anyone but themselves. google really hadn't needed to worry about microsoft there.

make no mistake, chrome's primary strategic purpose was to control the web in ways that extended and solidified google's reach in search, ad views, and personal data. they flanked it with a suite of tools (e.g., gmail, maps), content (e.g, youtube), and platforms (e.g., android) and made them work best on chrome (à la microsoft with IE).

chrome phones home constantly and uses increasingly intrusive techniques to identity us (like requiring a google account). whether you believe it's benign or not, that's surveillance. they're slowly boiling the pot and we're the frogs.

Microsoft has always been a non-innovator. Their whole MO has been to wait to see what innovations catch on, and then dominate that space. The software/products they create in these spaces tend to be competent but not brilliant. They are almost a market-follower which happens to gain significant market share due to shrewd business tactics and, eventually, their sheer size. They have always mostly taken a 'wait and see' approach -- just look at the way Azure has come around as a response to AWS.

I agree with your views on privacy and Chrome. I've stopped using Chrome except at work, where (sadly) the Chrome dev tools are too valuable to ignore.

I don't entirely agree with that. Up until IE6, MS made a LOT of efforts towards making web apps work relatively well compared to alternatives. DHTML worked a lot better in IE5-6 than in the Mozilla counterpart at the time imho. It wasn't until around when Firefox (then firebird) came out that it started to really shift. IE was stagnant for what seemed like forever. IE7-8 were relatively insignificant shifts supporting some newer features, but still didn't resolve some of the huge memory holes with the JS engine and rendering engine separated by discrete COM layers. (separate issue)

I can agree with that in some regards, but I do think that MS has done a lot of things better. I think classic ASP was much better than PHP, though most of the unique functionality you might need was captured behind third party COM components. I think C# was/is a significant improvement over Java, and prefer .Net in general. .Net Core has been a very good shift, though some things seem more convoluted than they probably need to be.

As someone who tends to reach for Node first, I really do appreciate MS's efforts in that space to get things running as smoothly in windows as in Linux and Mac. As an early adopter (0.6/0.8 era) windows use was pretty painful. VS Code is imho was leaps and bounds ahead of brackets and atom at release. I also really do like MS Teams, though lack of a Linux build of the client is just stupid and short sighted.

I still use chrome first, but have ublock origin enabled, and tend to be picky about my exclusions, pisses me off to no end when sites just don't work with it enabled.

i’m not sure i’d go as far as to say they were non-innovators. microsoft famously employed “embrace, extend, extinguish” but it required quite a bit of “extend” to be successful. ms-dos, windows, office, exchange, sql server, etc. were all solid advancements in their time.

but they’ve certainly stagnated in my mind. i still use outlook/exchange and excel, but generally migrated away from microsoft many years ago now.

I do think their Office 365 and Azure strategies will keep them around for a long while. It's significantly better than the alternatives. All the same, most of my efforts have been towards not deploying to windows centered infrastructure, though Azure itself is decent enough.

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