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By Jason Snell for Macworld
In so many ways, Google is the modern equivalent of Microsoft. It makes a operating system used by the majority of the market, running on an array of hardware from many vendors. It’s powerful, ubiquitous-and the target of dislike and rage from many people who love Apple products.
Now, I was never someone who bought into Microsoft hate. I never liked Windows, but I wrote hundreds of thousands of words on Microsoft Word for Mac. The first magazine cover story I ever wrote, for MacUser, was a web browser shootout between the incumbent, Netscape, and a scrappy upstart called Internet Explorer. I wrote that IE was the better browser, which was quite a controversial statement in the days when “Windows 95 = Macintosh ’89” buttons were in wide circulation.
So when I look at Google and see a latter-day version of 1990s Microsoft, I don’t mean to portray it as a monster. Truth be told, just as I used Word 5.1 back in the day, I use many Google services today. My email is served by Gmail, and my comings and goings are arranged with Google Calendar. Most of my podcast and website collaboration happens in Google Sheets and Google Docs. (I also thought the Google I/O keynote last week was the best one I’ve seen-disciplined and focused in a way previous I/O keynotes weren’t.)
But some of the stuff Microsoft pulled in the 1990s was awful, and made users angry. And Google seems to still be making decisions that are more about promoting the greatness of Google than showing respect for users.