Google Chrome OS, what are they up to now?

July 12, 2009
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22214645 I’ve speculated on the disruptive potential of Google before, and really since then not a lot has changed I guess. Still, as I look at the last few announcements from Google there does seem to be a pattern. I get asked a lot by the financial community about Google and their competitive stance and in general I’ve said they have potential but they don’t seem to be targeting any of the major enterprise players. That’s certainly true of Oracle, SAP, HP, IBM, etc. I usually do point out though that it seems like Google has some designs on Microsoft’s business and with last weeksannouncement of Chrome OS that seems even more likely. Think about it, they have announced, over the last 6 months: 1. A reseller program for Google Apps, clearly a competitor to Microsoft Office, 2. Google Wave, the next gen of web communication and again you could argue positioned against MS Exchange, 3. Google Chrome, its answer to MS Internet Explorer and finally 4. Google Chrome OS… Microsoft‘s answer, Bing, a shot directly at Google‘s golden goose. Now let’s not be totally off base, Chrome OS, which is targeted at netbooks won’t be out till next year and most likely won’t do much to disrupt Microsoft‘s


22214645 I’ve speculated on the disruptive potential of Google before, and really since then not a lot has changed I guess. Still, as I look at the last few announcements from Google there does seem to be a pattern. I get asked a lot by the financial community about Google and their competitive stance and in general I’ve said they have potential but they don’t seem to be targeting any of the major enterprise players. That’s certainly true of Oracle, SAP, HP, IBM, etc. I usually do point out though that it seems like Google has some designs on Microsoft’s business and with last weeksannouncement of Chrome OS that seems even more likely. Think about it, they have announced, over the last 6 months: 1. A reseller program for Google Apps, clearly a competitor to Microsoft Office, 2. Google Wave, the next gen of web communication and again you could argue positioned against MS Exchange, 3. Google Chrome, its answer to MS Internet Explorer and finally 4. Google Chrome OS… Microsoft‘s answer, Bing, a shot directly at Google‘s golden goose. Now let’s not be totally off base, Chrome OS, which is targeted at netbooks won’t be out till next year and most likely won’t do much to disrupt Microsoft‘s OS business. They did more disruption themselves with the release of Vista, but that seems to be resolving itself with the subsequent Windows 7 release. Some analysts believe that the Chrome OS actually does more damage to Ubuntu, the only desktop Linux that seemed to be gaining traction, by splintering Linux yet again…it’s not a bad argument, by the way. Microsoft has also said it was working on a new browser (Gazelle) that would be optimized for running Internet apps, sort of an Internet OS.

Google has a unique position, the ad business on which it lives is fairly stable it would seem and honestly, can another search engine displace them now? Not really likely, just like saying Chrome OS is going to replace Windows 7 on the netbook anytime soon. Just because a technology might be better doesn’t often make it the market leader, marketing does…along with inertia. More people are familiar with Windows, there is more device support, etc. All these things make it unlikely that Windows can be displaced…I mean, I’m typing this on a MacBook Pro sitting in a Starbucks in San Francisco (arguably a stronghold of Apple devotees) and as I look around, out of a dozen notebooks/netbooks here we don’t represent 20% (1 other MacBook pro, 10 windows, 0 Linux). Not an official poll but a common sight. You have to wonder though, since Google has a stable (and large) cash flow, a bunch of very smart people, an inclination to go head to head with Microsoft and time can they start to damage Microsoft‘s business? You also have to wonder that if Googlebecame more aggressive in that assault would we be telling a different story, hmmm.