Monday, 6 December 2010

Google OS Chrome and Microsoft

Taking another test run with Google Chrome OS. From the very start you know you are in a Google OS which serves Google's long term strategic interests. But that is really the entire problem. I started using Linux to get out of the reach of one Microsoft's control, why would I use a Linux that just hands me over to Google. And not just over to Google for the OS, its a bit eye opening to see how little there is outside of Google once you take away the OS.

The Chrom OS has some major problems as I can see it:

1. Little installed software compared to other Linux OS systems. (If you want Linux try Ubuntu)
2. Security model on the one I have is so locked down I can not even install new code, this means you are cut off from the Open Sourced world out there. For several years Linux fans saw Google as a natural ally. A few hours on Chrome and you see they certain are not.
3. Google and the Cloud as of yet does not offer a full suit of productivity tools fully online. You still have to do stuff on your desktop. Probably the worst part of my testing Google Chrome OS was my use of Google Docs as the writer tool and not Open Office.
4. Clearly this is targeted to the netbook and micro laptop market, the Eee PC crowd. And its clearly late. The micro laptop was killed by the iPad and now the Galaxy Tablet.

With such weak features I would stay on Windows 7 or Mac OS X for a higher end laptop or PC. If I was going to install Linux on a new PC I would use Ubuntu. I have Ubuntu installed on a few low spec machines and it works fine. And it gives more than Chrome would. As for the Mobile world, right now I am going to use Android or an iPad/iPhone.

The only place I could see Chrome maybe coming to play is a netbook that is so low spec it can't run Windows 7 sold to people who demand a name brand and will not use an Suse or Ubuntu. But that market is already settled: Windows XP snatched that group up in 2009. Chrome is simply too late.

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Strangely enough the thing that made Google Chrome OS most tolerable was Microsoft Office Web App.

A very eye opening article tells us perhaps more about Microsoft than Chrome

BBC News - Delays for Google's Chrome questioned by experts: "'I think Microsoft is always worried about what Google could do,' said Neil MacDonald, research vice president and fellow with Gartner.

'Don't underestimate Microsoft. For example Microsoft had a web-enabled version of Office for years back in the lab ready in case Google apps ever matured to the point it felt threatened, and recently it released a web version of Office.

'In Microsoft's labs today there is absolutely an....OS supporting browser-based access. But they won't release it on their own because there is too much money at stake in the Office franchise and for the moment Chrome is nothing more than wishful thinking.'"

If i am reading this correctly, Microsoft has spend money and effort in R&D which it has then NOT releasing to the market. This just goes to prove the danger of a monopoly position to the market and make a joke of Microsoft's previous claims that its massive position gives it an innovation lead. Certainly Microsoft CAN fund as much R&D as anyone else in the world, and can produce some of the greatest break throughs in technology, BUT there must be some force pushing Microsoft to do it.

Lets be frank, if it has not been for Google we would be pretty much stuck with an updated version of XP and Office 2003 coming out of Microsoft. Google and the rise of the Web has forced Microsoft to embrace collaboration, the cloud and to look at a world after Windows and Offices.

In a mobile world there will not be Office or Windows, web 3.0 takes the web out of the Office and out of the Window and out of Microsoft comfort zone. But that does not mean Microsoft will lose the entire pie, and certainly Windows 7 does not have much to fear from Chrome

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