Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Google introduces PC operating system, takes on Microsoft Windows

All I can say is wow--we've got a battle between two software titans. From MSNBC News:

SUN VALLEY, Idaho — Google Inc. is hoping to gain greater control over how personal computers work with its plans to develop a free operating system that will attack Microsoft Corp.'s golden goose — its long-dominant Windows franchise.

The new operating system will be based on Google's 9-month-old Web browser, Chrome. Google intends to rely on help from the community of open-source programmers to develop the Chrome operating system, which is expected to begin running computers in the second half of 2010.

The early versions of the Chrome operating system will be tailored for "netbooks," a breed of low-cost, less powerful laptop computers that are becoming increasingly popular among budget-conscious consumers primarily interested in surfing the Web.

That is a direct challenge to Microsoft, whose next operating system, Windows 7, is being geared for netbooks as well as larger computers. ( is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

The vast majority of netbooks already run on Windows, and that is unlikely to change unless Google can demonstrate the Chrome operating system is a significant improvement, said Forrester Research analyst Paul Jackson. He pointed out that many customers had returned the original netbooks that used open-source alternatives to Windows.

"It was not what people expected," he said. "People wanted Windows because they knew how to use it and knew how applications worked."

This is going to be an interesting battle to watch. Google is the king of search engine technology. If you want to search for something on the web, you "google" the topic, and get a ton of results to plow through. Microsoft Windows is THE operating system that has been installed on desktop, laptop, and now netbook, computers for both business and consumer use for years. If you purchase a new computer, more than likely the computer will be installed with some flavor of a Microsoft Windows OS [Sorry, I'm not going into Macs, or Linux systems here]. Google attempted to challenge Microsoft in the internet browser market with their Google Chrome, but it hasn't made much of a dent against MS Internet Explorer. Microsoft has tried to challenge Google in the search engine market with their own Bing search engine, which obviously hasn't toppled Google from the top search engine spot. Now Google is raising the stakes with an introduction of a Google operating system to challenge Microsoft Windows? What is even more amazing is that this Google Chrome will be some type of graphical user OS that may be sitting on top of a Linux engine--can you say Windows 3.1 sitting on top of DOS?

I don't know how successful Google Chrome will be against MS Windows. There are too many variables here--how robust, or easy to use will Google Chrome be in running on computers? Will Google Chrome crash as badly as Windows (Can you say Vista?) has at times? Will businesses and consumers be willing to drop Windows for Chrome? How will Microsoft's new Windows 7 fare in the OS market--especially in the aftermath of the disaster OS called Vista? Will consumers buy into Windows 7, or will the continue using XP? I do not believe that Google Chrome will topple Windows, but Chrome may find a niche in the OS market, similar to Linux or Mac.

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