Microsoft, Google gear for titanic clash

NEW YORK, May 14, 2006 (AFP) – Microsoft and Google are girding for battle for supremacy over the information technology sector, a duel watched closely by others in the sector. The spectacular rise of Google in the past few years has raised questions about whether the Internet search titan is on track to dethrone Microsoft and Bill Gates as the undisputed high-tech superpower.

To meet the challenge, Microsoft is pouring billions of dollars into its most significant wave of product launches in years, including the new version of the Windows operating system called Vista, and new version of the Office suite of business software.

Microsoft is also moving into growing businesses such as Internet search and online advertising, where it is trailing Google and other competitors.

It is also investing on a dozen other fronts, including making the most of the early start Xbox 360 holds over Sony in the lucrative video-game market.

“Today, we believe we face the largest array of opportunities for growth and innovation the company has ever seen,” Microsoft chief financial officer Chris Liddell said recently.

But concerns about Microsoft’s dominance were underscored by the