You probably have already heard, but Google has entered the operating system marketplace with a Chrome (browser) based operating system for use in netbooks and tablet systems, and is promising to develop it for the laptop market as well.
This puts them in direct competition with Microsoft again, but this time in the center of the computer universe, in the operating system, the core software that makes computers run. Google already owns the search space, which Microsoft keeps trying to enter in a real way, most recently with Bing! Google has been going after Microsoft in the lucrative productivity applications area with Google Apps versus Microsoft’s Office System. And they complete in other arenas as well: mapping (Google Earth vs. Expedia), blogging (Blogger vs. Windows Live Spaces). The list goes on…
Microsoft usually wins these sorts of contests against technology competitors, due to their larger size and deeper pockets. They have the ability to out bid, out market, and out last most competitors. Google may be the only technology company on the planet with both the brainpower, size, and cash to take Microsoft on head to head. For the last three years or so I have been saying that Google is the company to watch. They have everything going for them, and own the technology battlefield of the 21st century – the Internet. Name me one application that does not have a web based counterpart. And Google is uniquely positioned to develop or acquire these applications, and has the technical resources to run them on the Internet, and the business methodology to make it profitable. Everyone else, including Microsoft, has to play catch-up, and my bet is that they can’t do it.
Plus, Google has entered the marketplace with products that are almost always free to end-users. Microsoft, on the other hand, has always commanded top dollar for their software products. Free has become the hallmark of Internet based web services of all types, and free almost always beats expensive when most everything else is equal.
So what does the operating system landscape look like now?
- Microsoft Windows – king of the desktop, strong in the server market
- Apple Mac OS– a more stable if somewhat pricey desktop operating system.
- Linux – runs the Internet server market, limited success in the desktop arena (Ubuntu is the current favorite), mostly a geek toy for now.
- Google Chrome – we shall see.
If Google can develop an operating system that runs great on less expensive equipment, and can access the web and all the web based applications, and provide email access, this could be a very huge market for them. At the minimum, it would force Microsoft, and possible Apple, to come up with a simple low cost OS alternative for the consumer marketplace.
At this point I do not see them, or anyone else for that matter, making serious inroads into the corporate IT marketplace. Business and Industry is just got too much invested in the Windows environment for their to be a major shift here.
In the meanwhile, it should be fun to watch. Stay tuned!!Share