Rob posted last night about Google’s announcement of the Chrome Operating System. Sometimes change sneaks up on you. Sometimes it comes with a loud bang. The sound you hear is the world changing course. Right now. Cue the loud bang.
The timing might have seemed odd to some. Robert Scoble says that Google’s announcement timing was influenced by a Microsoft announcement that is due on Monday. Which if true, makes sense. While many corporate and enterprise IT departments are in the process of making decisions about Windows 7. Remember all those IT folks that skipped Vista? You know the ones who have machines 3 or so years old filling their offices? This will have an effect on those decisions. But wait a minute, this is supposed to be a stripped down OS for Netbooks, right? Yes, and only in the beginning. Don’t kid yourself by looking tightly at the mobile space. The Chrome OS is targeting any thing that computes in the long run.
Yes, the Chrome OS will have a big impact in the mobile space as it is designed to run on both x86 chips and ARM. But the implication of the announcement will have as many repercussions as the eventual release of the OS itself. In the wake of the news, a lot of the focus is on Microsoft, but Apple needs to be (and I’m sure is) paying attention as well. The stakes have never been higher for any and all players, as just about every assumption we have been living with about computing, is about to radically change. By the time we reach the 1st quarter of 2010, we’ll start to see how the reactions are going to pan out. If not sooner. While Netbooks might be the initial focus, this is going to start changing decisions that everyone is making as of, well, as of last night. Watch for more and more folks who may have been resistant to move to Google’s apps begin experimenting. Companies like Zoho stand to benefit as well.
One thing to watch right now. Those who today might have been on the fence about buying a Netbook loaded with XP might feel like going ahead with that purchase, knowing that how we view Netbooks by this time next year will be entirely different. I’m betting we see OEMS that push out Netbooks and MIDS that were working on Windows 7 versions change course.
And don’t think Microsoft won’t respond. It will. Change will happen there, and maybe with a little more urgency. If nothing else the announcement from Google is going to change how Microsoft goes forward. Will it kill Microsoft as some are saying? I don’t think so. The best thing that could happen for all of us is that this will make Microsoft better.
No wonder Google’s apps came out of Beta yesterday. They’ve got an entire new world of Beta about to start opening up this fall.