Is the browser Microsoft’s worst nightmare?

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Among the many things said this week about the possible changes going on within Microsoft, this one really gets to me:

From Jupiter Analyst Joe Wilcox: “Microsoft’s biggest nightmare is people living in the browser.”

I hope not. In fact, I couldn’t disagree more.

Microsoft is a platform company that can do just fine in the browser domain whether providing services, technologies to build services, technologies to enhance the browser, or the browser itself. We’re all climbing up the abstraction ladder and the browser is just one more step along a path we’ve been on for more years. Like batch programming before it, or authoring in assembly, or Fortran, or Basic, or C/C++, or Java, we’re working towards enabling the largest number of solutions in the most efficient means. All of these technologies exist today (some more than others), but at each step along the way, “more” was enabled. More products. More users. More developers. That’s the key. For now, the browser holds the baton. If history is any indication, Microsoft knows this game.

I’d further argue that Microsoft’s nightmare is lurking in the crevices if it does ignore the browser–which fortunately it is not showing any current indication of today. There’s IE7, Atlas, Windows Live, and on and on. All of these demonstrate that Microsoft is working to enable and improve the “browser” experience.

Now, one might argue that Microsoft isn’t changing fast enough one way or another and that there are groups that would rather defend their turf than enable growth in other areas, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t efforts to move forward in the browser that are quite significant and spot on.

No. The browser is not the host of a dark nightmare. It’s quite the opposite. The browser is opportunity.

Now I’m not suggesting that all other technologies be demoted in favor of browser-based ones, however, if you want to go where the greatest opportunities for growth is for the forseable future, there’s one place to be–the browser.

Oh, and look around. If your family and friends are anything like mine, they already are living in the browser.