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The World Just Changed



google-chrome-osRob 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.



  1. Jim

    07/08/2009 at 6:28 am

    This changes everything. This fall I’ll have to dual-boot Windows 7 RC and Google Chrome OS.

  2. Ben

    07/08/2009 at 6:55 am

    Ah, so THAT’s why google chose red, yellow, blue and green for their chrome logo like that. they planned to make it into and OS the whole time, and had to choose colors similar to the windows logo. i see, i see.

    (joke in response to Rob’s post: )

  3. Sumocat

    07/08/2009 at 7:59 am

    Jim: Don’t put the cart before the horse. Per the announcement, they’re going to open source the code later this year with consumer products planned for later next year. Unless you know something we don’t, I wouldn’t count on a workable OS by this fall.

    As for the world changing, as Yoda would say, begun the OS war has.

  4. NotSoSure

    07/08/2009 at 9:03 am

    Hi, while I agree that this is big I do not think it is automatically as BIG as it is made out to be. This is just another tiny OS (nothing to do with the OS bearing that name) that uses a stripped down version of a Linux kernel. Time will tell but this is by means the beginning of the end for either Apple OS or Windows (or Linux or any other).

  5. Frank

    07/08/2009 at 9:08 am

    don’t get the hype. It’s a OS, nice, there are many free and open operating systems out there. What does Google OS has what others don’t have?
    I also don’t expect compatibilty with Windows software which was the great success of netbooks: small, portable, cheap but still capable of running full Windows XP, and not a Linux version, Windows CE or whatever with other unknown programs.

    And sorry, but Google is a huge company, too huge for my taste with too strange terms and conditions. I won’t want a Google OS on my machine. Google search, mail, browser, phone os, pc os, …, that’s too much power which I don’t want to support.

  6. Mark (K0LO)

    07/08/2009 at 11:45 am

    Funny how perceptions change. I was just reading the comments to today’s NYT article about Chrome OS:

    A couple of years ago, Microsoft was considered the “Evil Empire” and Google was considered to be Knights in Shining Armor. Go read the comments in the above article. Most of them are extremely suspicious of and distrustful of Google. So now they have the perception problem to deal with…

  7. Tim H

    07/08/2009 at 4:44 pm

    I agree with Sumocat about the reality of its date of availability. I also agree with NotSoSure about what it will really turn out to be. The big question in my mind is that of drivers. Could it work with the hardware in my flavor of netbook? Linux has this problem, and so does Windows 7RC.

  8. Jake

    07/08/2009 at 5:03 pm

    I can assure you that nothing has changed and the title of this thread is the equivalent of proclaiming 2009 the year of Linux.

    There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that people will be interested in a Google OS and no reason to think that people will flock to Google apps that are relatively untested and thoroughly untrusted. Google have excelled at search but little else and there’s far more risk involved with handing all your information over to Google than any other company at this stage.

    If you want to see how a Google OS will fair I suggest you check out that state of Android in the Smartphone market and Linux in general in the Netbook market. Neither is a success and the latter can be counted as a dismal failure given the fact that netbooks started out on Linux.

  9. Paul Harrigan

    07/09/2009 at 12:17 pm

    Contrary to Jake’s “assurances”, the world has changed. Linux failed on netbooks because it didn’t run anything. Android is just getting started, although I suspect it faces a very different competitor in the Iphone than in the world in which it first was developed.

    Chrome OS is precisely what Microsoft feared in the early 80’s when one of the Netscape founders said Netscape could be used as an OS to replace Windows — leading to the conduct that got MS in trouble with the antitrust laws.

    At its heart, however, this is not a new battle, just a powerful competitor in the old battle of whether my data is kept locally and my computing is under my local control or whether a server (now called the cloud, since we don’t get to see where the server is) has the data and I have some sort of client.

    I think it is going to be an interesting time, and I suspect that Microsoft is going to need to respond rather more vigorously than it has recently, or else it is going to be in real trouble.

  10. Virtuous

    07/09/2009 at 8:04 pm

    I love Gmail, Calendar and Picasa, but not Android. Android will have the same problem as Windows Mobile. Windows Mobile is on too many different screen sizes and models. This makes writting apps that will work on all models challenging.

  11. Danny

    07/10/2009 at 10:39 am

    >You know the ones who have machines 3 or so years old >filling their offices? This will have an effect on those >decisions.

    No it won’t. At all. Google has barely managed to dent the market with a similar project in the mobile phone space and now they are winning over IT departments? Geez this might be the most overblown post in all of chrome os blogging. Quite an achievement. Any IT manager who is going to be putting a brand new OS with no proven device or app support into wide scale rollout is not going to be an IT manager for long. We have almost no real world details about this project and suddenly it is making its way through the long-term planning of the corporate approval process? Just hilarious. Whoa what utter nonsense. Even google would have to admit you’ve wildly overshot expectations. Seriously, take a breath.

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