The Gladiators: Google & Microsoft

Background: The recently announced Google Chrome Operating System! Don’t pull out your wallets yet – there’s time before they launch it… and it might also be available as FOSS! 😉

In HK Sir’s recent blog, he puts forth his thoughts about why he thinks the recently announced Google Chrome OS might not give Microsoft a run for their money.

I do agree with many of the points he raises there, however I still think Google Chrome OS (GCOS) will do well & Microsoft better start saving! 🙂 The GCOS may not do as well as Google would like it to do in the OEM segment (as he’s highlighting in his blog too) – but it would do well, otherwise.

Knowing Microsoft’s “innovative” ways, they might’ve already started working on a new Windows 7 Lite (a stripped down Windows 7 for the web) to compete with the GCOS. 😉

My flow of thought about why Microsoft *has* serious competition:

  • Windows Vista has been a major flop & most people/companies are not likely to consider buying Windows 7. GCOS would be a good option for them.
    (Tangent, but relative: Many companies have not switched/upgraded their Windows 2003 to Windows 2008 yet – and they probably even won’t).
  • Microsoft is known to *force* its users to upgrade the OS – by stopping their support to legacy OSes. But in these tough times, people/companies would rather stick to Windows XP/Vista/2003 (with the available support – or force Microsoft to extend the XP/2003 support even further), than spend money on a new Windows OS. This Microsoft policy is also likely to cause the switch to the GCOS.
    (Tangent: I never understood why Microsoft spurns its existing babies when they deliver newborns! I do know people who still happily use “Microsoft-unsupported” Windows 98 SE and Windows 2000 Pro.)
  • So, the obvious growth for Microsoft’s new OS is likely in the OEM segment only. Linux distros have already eaten up (& are still munching) some space in that segment. However, due to lack of marketing the Linux-OEM bundle hasn’t seen major growth to dent Microsoft’s share there.
  • In comparison – Google will most likely spend a lot of money in marketing its new OS & will have much more recognition in the market as compared to the other Linux distros. This is bound to affect Microsoft’s share in the segment.
  • One other serious pain with Microsoft is its OSes demanding high-end hardware. The GCOS, with its new GUI on top, is expected to not demand for high-end hardware (unlike Windows 7), so users of old hardware are expected to dump their old & slow Microsoft OS, rather than spend money to upgrade their computers to run the new Microsoft OS.
  • The GCOS would have the Chrome browser built-in, and it would be expected to carry/support OpenOffice & multimedia apps; which are more then enough for a majority of tasks that a typical user does. (Yeah! A majority of users don’t know how to download and/or install software. They prefer to stay put with what they have.) For power users, there are enough FOSS software available today, to make an easy switch to the GCOS and replace almost every Microsoft offering. (.NET developers, you must check out MonoDevelop!)
  • Existing computer users (even non-techies!) would definitely try the GCOS once (assumption: Google’s strong marketing!), to atleast check its claims – and I think, there will be substantial number of users switching from Windows to the GCOS after that.
  • For new computer buyers – a great deal with a free/cheap & fast OS with a small footprint might sell well. Microsoft Windows isn’t getting low on its bad cholestrol (bloatware!) and neither is it getting any easier to use, like the bothersome security prompts being thrown at the user at almost every other click of the mouse button (Microsoft’s own admission). A lay user gets *very* worried using Vista – trust me here, I’ve helped quite a few. 😐  I don’t expect Windows 7 to radically change that.

Both Microsoft & Google have a tough battle for their space in the OS market – with Microsoft desperate to save its share, and Google out to grab even that, with its GCOS.

I’d say, look forward to them fight as gladiators, while you are the Emperor! 🙂

10 thoughts on “The Gladiators: Google & Microsoft”

  1. Nirav bhai,
    This is a topic on which I can go on and on. Did not read thru your blog, before reading thru I would like put my views first.

    1) At this point do we really think we need another OS ? All hype here is because Google is doing it, thats all. But think about what if just another company trying to make a new light weight flavor of Linux with same goals in mind, who would have been bothered ?

    2) Ezee PC, Asus the creator of netbook concept, who were till now selling netbooks with lightweight Linux flavors have signed a deal with MS to ship their netbooks with Win7.

    3) I’ve worked on MAC OS9s and MAC OSXs. Used various Open source tools. In must say IMHO if there is any thing developer friendly its MS tools and technologies. Developers are key for the survival of any OS or platform.

    4) I agree MS has lost track in last 10 years, companies like Google and Adobe took advantage in this time. Well !!! have you tried out bing ? (bing is my primary search engine now) Its as good as Google if not better, Streaming on Silverlight 3 is better than Flash. I strongly believe they are on their way back.

    5) In the OS market if MS should be worried about someone then its Apple. I’m not telling this because i work on MAC. Slowly but corporates and enterprises are accepting Mac and adopting it. This is a real threat.

    6) There was Android a Google OS. Its been ported to Netbooks, why not develop that instead of a new GCOS. I feel Google is trying to do too many things too fast and loosing focus. Building an OS is not a joke its not like building a browser and surely that is not Google’s core competency.

    Will read thru the blog and be ready for more comments 🙂

    1. Agreed, we can go on & on & on…

      1. Google is not building the OS from scratch & it will be a Linux footprint.
      2. No haven’t tried Bing – didn’t like the interface at all. Still prefer Google as it is damn simple.
      3. Linux distros weren’t marketed enough. Cannot be compared to the GCOS, which is expected to be promoted well.
      4. Silverlight doesn’t have as much acceptance as Flash yet. For non-Windows OSes – it still works only because of Moonlight) – something *not* developed by Microsoft. While Flash Player works on Microsoft’s IE6, Silverlight has abandoned IE6.

      My arguments are not pro-Google — and the GCOS has good chances of completely failing in its attempts; however having not even tried the GCOS yet, there’s an air of optimism about it! Being a Microsoft customer, I raised points which I think could allow GCOS to give a tough competition to Microsoft, not only in the OEM segment, but even in the direct retail.

      As mentioned in the blog, whenever you do read it ;-), the arena is setup, the Gladiators are getting dressed… the entertainment will start shortly.

    1. Google *was* a technology driven company. Today its also a business driven company – only that it has (always had!) a radically different marketing strategy. Whatever they do – I see them interested only to put their ads *everywhere*.

      IMPO – Google, in its current form, is the next Microsoft in the making.

    1. Well – thanks for the link — I did see the videos. Couldn’t see any dramatically different. He (the Group Product Manager) himself agrees to a lot of competing products which are already doing most of the things. So usual “innovations”.

      Regardless of all this, how many of the features do we *actually* use? Just as an example – to use the collaboration features, we need a few other multi-thousand dollar products, which then work to assist Outlook do the collaboration. Finally, all these products end up as bloatware hogging your hard-drive with stuff you never use or never needed.

      The Office on the web is a great addition – looking forward to it. More frills promised than GoogleDocs & such services. Again usual “innovations”.

  2. UPDATE: “From what we know of it so far, you won’t be able to install any third-party applications on it, the way you do on a regular computer. It will be just the Chrome OS and the web and nothing else; no email client or media player, and definitely not Microsoft Office, will come in between.” — Quote from Javed Anwer’s blog at – http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/WebWise/entry/google-s-os-is-no

    Which, if true, changes the complete picture. HK Sir had also mentioned that it was a “thin client”, however I still understood of it as a base OS which would allow further customization. So – if it turns out to be an OS without flesh – I suppose there’s no comparison between the GCOS & Microsoft Windows 7.

    Time will tell.

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