This is “hypercompetition, make no mistake” piped Microsoft’s Bill Gates, when asked last week about the threat posed to his company by Google, Inc. What follows will be a technology arms race that could determine the future of information technology as we know it, according to The New York Times. For the outside observer, this could be enormously fun to watch, but for those with a vested interest in either side, the atmosphere is becoming more and more combative. The evidence of a pending Cold War comes from Microsoft’s first quarter earnings, when HQ announced it would ramp up next year’s spending by $2 billion more than previous estimates. Much of that will go towards competing with Google and Yahoo, the Internet ad giants, Ray Ozzie, Microsoft’s chief technology officer told the Times. Should Microsoft fail, “Our business as we know it is at risk,” he said. Simply put, people don’t want to pay for software, and they also don’t want to be roped into a Microsoft-only universe of applications. They want choice, and they don’t want to pay. Google is starting to offer everything Microsoft does, but for free. Thus, Microsoft’s business will be undergoing a sea change. It’s going to cost a lot, but competition like this is also going to be great for consumers.