Google vs Microsoft: the Operating System Wars

Sometimes 140 characters just isn’t enough.. Mark Scholl just tweeted: “Google now making an OS. Strategy of taking on Microsoft by becoming Microsoft?”

That is absolutely the only information I have on the OS. But yes, I already have thoughts.

My immediate response (but I have plenty more thoughts I’ll have to return to later, particularly after reading about it some):

Not so. Microsoft built a product, back when we bought commodities. Google is selling a service. We’ve already seen the “intelligence” that comes from Google knowing way more about us than we may expect. The Google OS is going to be a personalized experience, not a product we can just pick up and buy.
It’s an interesting idea, to jump into the OS field. I *think* it will hurt Linux more than MS. I can’t imagine enterprises going this route, despite the fact that Gmail and other services are finally “enterprise-ready” (for the past how many hours?)
So what if I run the Google OS at home and at work? Will the experiences both be tied to my Google account?

7 thoughts on “Google vs Microsoft: the Operating System Wars

  • I didn’t have much info at the time about Google’s OS outside of what I tweeted either. (BTW, thanks for the hat tip!) From what I understand thus far, it will only be installed on small netbooks. The main purpose of the OS is to boot very quickly and run a browser. That’s it. The presumption is that’s all you need, since you can access all of Google’s tools online (such as Google Docs, Calendar, Gmail, etc).

    They assume, I guess, that we want to live a Google lifestyle, where all we’ll need is access to Google in order to do all the things we have to do. That may be true in some aspects. For a netbook, it doesn’t need to do much. It doesn’t need to (or designed to) run spreadsheets or QuickBooks, etc. With that in mind, I’m not sure how anyone at this point can say its real competition to Microsoft/Windows, unless they plan on making it way more robust.

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  • Mark, the Google OS experience will probably be as robust as any of the web services available. Since that’s where a lot of attention is going, other people will do Google’s work for them and Google will enable them. Just think of Tom Sawyer painting the fence.

    Microsoft, if anything, got in the way of web developers cough cough IE 6 cough. They make upgrading their products a pain to boot. I only hope Apple finds inspiration in this.

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  • Mark, the Google OS experience will probably be as robust as any of the web services available. Since that’s where a lot of attention is going, other people will do Google’s work for them and Google will enable them. Just think of Tom Sawyer painting the fence.

    Microsoft, if anything, got in the way of web developers cough cough IE 6 cough. They make upgrading their products a pain to boot. I only hope Apple finds inspiration in this.

    Taj Moore’s last blog post..Woman: From The Inside Out

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  • Taj,
    I agree–Google OS will be as robust of their other online offerings… which is why Microsoft has nothing to worry about. Docs doesn’t hurt Word, it hurts OpenOffice. Google Calendar and Gmail doesn’t hurt Outlook, it hurts Sunbird and Thunderbird more.

    Chrome OS is –it seems so far with the limited info available–designed to deliver people to web apps that are also built by Google. But the people that really want to use Gmail and Docs probably already are, and they are doing it from a Windows machine. So there is little reason for a typical user to switch away from Windows, unless they are buying a Mac. And I’m not sure that there are a lot of people that want what is essentially a Web OS.

    Though they could be doing it just to screw around with the gang in Redmond. The fun of it might be all the reason they need.

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  • Mark, wouldn’t Chrome OS work all that much better for any web apps? What I’m saying is that Chrome OS will be as rich as anything the Web has to offer, not just Google. I agree on Word vs. OpenOffice, although I dropped Outlook for Gmail+Calendar the second I could; I hate Outlook in so many ways; I just don’t imagine I’m alone in that.

    But here’s the real beauty of what Google is doing: there’s nothing to stop someone from buying a netbook in addition to their desktop/laptop. They can be had for much cheaper than a Kindle, iPhone 3Gs, or a host of other devices that promise to be some form of “vade mecum.” Heck, I might just stop carrying my laptop everywhere and switch to a netbook for in-between the office and home. My iPhone is usually my lifeline, but it would be nice to touch type. This could cut into sales of other devices besides desktops and laptops, which will chisel away at people’s reliance on their big computers, which could lead to the question “why do I need all that?”

    Leave it to the vanguard to test the waters, and early adopters to make it worth writing about in the NYTimes. Twitter barely makes sense to people; most have and do wonder “why do I need this,” and yet signups are still happening.

    Microsoft might lose a sliver of sales, but in an ecosystem where life is lived on the margins, a sliver is all it takes to turn a lion into a pussycat.

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  • “It’s an interesting idea, to jump into the OS field. I *think* it will hurt Linux more than MS.”

    Odd, considering that most speculation is that GoogleOS will be built on either a Linux or BSD foundation. 🙂

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