Why Microsoft can breathe a sigh of relief…

ChromeGoogle gave the world a glimpse of its open source, Linux based, Chrome operating system today.  While much of  Chrome’s development is progressive and will make computing faster, easier, and  more secure, the degree to which it deviates from today’s standard computing platforms and methods seriously endangers its chance of widespread adoption and ability to compete with Windows.  Seemingly built upon the Chrome web browser, the OS operates entirely on web applications, ditching traditional locally installed software for that hosted within the cloud.  While Chrome may find and thrive in a niche market, such as that of Netbooks, the ideas upon which it is based preclude any immediate threat to Microsoft’s Windows franchise.

For more than 30 years, personal computing has had a “personal” flavor.  People can sit at “their” PC’s, run “their” wholly owned applications, and create and store “their” data.  Although the growth of the Internet and expansion of “cloud computing” has and will continue to revolutionize the world for the better, it won’t quickly undo decades of habit and IT infrastructure development.  People don’t want to own thin clients or dumb terminals, which is essentially into what the Chrome OS turns any PC onto which it is installed.  And giving Google control of even more of data may not sit well with privacy advocates.  Despite all its positive features, the fact that Google’s Chrome OS is so heavily based within the cloud could, at least in the relatively short term, be its Achilles heal, granting Microsoft many more years of dominance in the operating system market.

Let’s not discount the massive paradigm shift Google’s Chrome OS may cause.  The company proved with its Chrome web browser (to which I and Sony have exclusively migrated) that it can enter a market and quickly create a product superior than that offered by the incumbents.  The Chrome OS will be fast, secure, and easy to use.  Diagnostics and automatic software updates (or restoration in case of problems) upon system boot, coupled with a lack of access to core OS files granted to software will, at least initially, stall many of today’s incarnations of viruses and malware.  Google says that the Chrome OS, once initial development is finished sometime next year, will only be installed on new computers with solid state hard drives.  The OS will share the Chrome browser’s extremely simple and intuitive tabbed user interface.  Complete boot times will be just a few seconds.  Check out the video below for more on Chrome.

It seems pretty clear that Chrome won’t be threatening Windows anytime soon.  Steve Ballmer knows this.  But with the full backing of Google and that company’s desire to improve the performance and way things on the web are done, who knows what the future holds.

11 thoughts on “Why Microsoft can breathe a sigh of relief…”

  1. I don’t think you are right, or looking at it the right way. This is obviously meant for netbooks. Netbooks are not primary machines in the civilized world, netbooks are not too powerful.

    The netbook market is pretty lucrative for Microsoft – selling even more licenses bundled with a hell of a lot of machines sold. If Google is able to emphasize on what you really do with those machines, which is eMailing and surfing, then why spend money on a Windows license?

    Of course this won’t make Microsoft exctinct on the desktop, but it will certainly reduce their income from the netbook market dramatically.

  2. I agree that Chrome’s initial target is the netbook market. But, as with any new device or technology, after its novelty wears off, people seek out a convergence of features and capabilities. Netbooks, in general, are too underpowered for all the tasks people will want to perform on them. Additionally, the Internet’s infrastructure is no where near capable of suddenly becoming a massive “hard drive” by which millions of high bandwidth applications are run.

    As the hardware that powers netbooks improves and they essentially morph into ultraportable laptops, people will want (and be willing to pay for) a full featured operating system (e.g. Windows 7). Chrome does not suit that need. I wish it did and as a huge fan of Google’s products, I was disappointed to learn about Chrome’s details.

  3. Good Site on Cloud Computing and SaaS – We are periodically looking for good blog information
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