Image via CrunchBaseThroughout the development of modern technology, there have been products and services that have come and gone. Some have transformed into other products and some companies have gone in a completely different direction. Companies like IBM, Borland, Lotus, WordPerfect, WordStar and Netscape are have played a part in software and hardware development over the course of the past few decades. There have also been some memorable battles, with companies vying for supremacy and copyright. Lotus sued Borland claiming that the Quartto Pro had the same "look and feel" of 1-2-3. And then there was the browser wars. Microsoft's dominance in PC operating system software settled many battles by introducing MS Office. I was a committed WordPerfect user but when over to the dark side by sheer force (I still look for the Reveal Code screen).
It look as if a modern battle is brewing. Facebook is set to release an email service. Some are saying that this would be the death of other Web-based email services like Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail. As Facebook has 500,000 users across the world, a Facebook email could take a bite out of the market. Not being a Facebook user, I hope that loyal Google followers support Gmail as Google is known to abandon under-utilized applications. I do not see this happening as many thousands, including myself, have chosen Gmail as my primary email provider. Google, on the other hand, has tried to get some social networking into their suite of products and has failed. They claim not to be completing to Facebook.
I think that the result of this battle would be that Facebook users will have access to an email program and that Google will lose some of this Gmail users, but provide other services to tempt users to stay. Gmail is one of Google's primary services and I don't see it going away or there will be some very angry people and lost credibility in Internet services.
No matter how it works out, I think that the clear winners will be the users of FaceBook and Gmail.