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Cloud Apps vs Shelf Apps: Google bags contract under Microsoft's nose

Vivek Kundra, recruited to Washington to overhaul city computer networks plagued by cost overruns and viruses, treats his projects like stocks. The biggest ``buy'' on his trading floor is Google Inc.

The 34-year-old city technology chief signed a contract worth almost $500,000 a year in June for all 38,000 municipal employees to use Google's e-mail, spreadsheet and word- processing programs, giving them an Internet-based alternative to Microsoft Corp.'s Office software, installed on computers. Accountants, teachers and firefighters use Google to set budgets, track truancy rates and map emergency routes.

Google is cracking Microsoft's hold in the business- software market with skirmishes for orders like Kundra's. Microsoft gets $19 billion in annual sales from applications such as Office and beat back a challenge for Procter & Gamble Co.'s business this year. Google won clients such as Genentech Inc., and D.C. provides a glimpse into how the Web company is gaining ground.

``If Google keeps getting big customers like the District of Columbia, that's a lot of licenses Microsoft is going to lose,'' said Jeffrey Lindsay, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York. ``This will be a huge signal to the business community that this product is being fairly rigorously vetted.''

Kundra's business pales next to the $16.6 billion in sales Mountain View, California-based Google brought in last year, almost entirely from ads that appear next to Web-search results. Washington's workforce, about the same size as insurance company Allstate Corp., can also still use Microsoft Office. Google is starting the software division from scratch, and it accounts for less than 3 percent of revenue.


Bloomberg Reporting

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A Collection of Threnodies : Part 1

Whale Fall
-----------------

Dress me up in my new threads
clasp my greasy palms
grease my hair
I'm ready for the fall


Watch at all the decadence
watching the avalanche
I'm slipping down
losing my buoyancy


What's become of us
where have we come
this far, this close
close to the doors


I hear them, sublimal chants
I'm on the run
I race through the human sea
I am the king!


I'm the slave
to my own undoings
I'm the jester in my courtyard
We jest as we run


We're strolling on that thin rope
we grope as we rope
we're true heros
we're the survivors


we're the scavengers
we're the friends
we're the lovers
we're the unbred


Soon awaiting the fall
we're lurking on us
we're osedaxing us
we're soon going to be done
we'll soon be arrested




*osedax(bone devourer, newly discovered marine genus) feeds on a fallen(sunken) whale carcass(which is also called a whale fall). Read more here