All over the tech websites last week: Google previewing their Chrome OS and releasing it’s code to the open source community.
Planning, pre-viewing and releasing an OS is a big thing. Especially if everybody is looking at you as the provider of THE cloud OS.
It stroke me that some of the comments are so diverging. Some examples. Who is right and who is wrong ? With – as usual – some additional thoughts and spices by yours truly.
When the title says “Why Chrome OS will fail” you know what to expect.
However, it also inherits that platform’s (Linux) many warts, including spotty hardware compatibility.
It’s a move born of desperation. Google knows it can’t possibly establish a viable hardware ecosystem and still meet its self-imposed release deadline of "mid-2010”.
…no surprise that the primary interface to the Chrome OS is … Chrome, as in the Google browser. Unlike a traditional OS, there’s no desktop. The "applications" running under the Chrome OS are really just interactive Web pages,…
The bottom line is that while there is virtually nothing that you’ll be able to do with the Chrome OS that you won’t be able to do equally well with Windows, there are literally millions of things that you can do with Windows today that you’ll likely never be able to do with the Chrome OS.
It should come as no surprise that this is the article that is tweeted around Twitterspace with great and almost malicious pleasure by current Microsoft employees. Still loyal to their employer.
But think twice when you use the word loyalty in this context. See how fast the love can turn into competition when the company does not treat its ambassadors rightly (Don Dodges 180° love/hate turn around after being hired by Google)
See also James Gardner on the “Evidence of the (Microsoft) chip (in Microsoft employees)” and the introduction of a new term:
Fake Steve Jobs, one of my favourite blogs on the internet, summarised the whole thing very nicely I thought, in a post where he calls Don a Borgocrat (Fake Steve refers to everything Microsoft as the Borg), and compares previous posts Don has made with his new position on products for the company.
If this isn’t evidence that the “chip” still exists, I don’t know what is.
The more a read those opinions of some of head-in-the-sand Microsoft opinion makers , the more they are irritating and even not credible.
What to think of a Microsoftie making fun of Google Gmail being down, when their Hotmail has been down and hacked so many times.
But it’s a more general irritation.
What to think of traditional network vendors making fun of some cloud outages, knowing that their legacy technology is 30 years old, and the cloud players are doing relatively well, if you would add an adoption ratio of number of users and the incredible short time to market for users to take up.
That sort of arguments are so passé,
so old game
Starting with a safe “Personally, I think it’s too early to tell.” The more interesting part in this posting is the effect that “geeks” can have on mainstream.
Yes, the "geek" audience is without a doubt a niche market. So it’s easy for Microsoft or Apple to write off Chrome OS. But that’s a mistake. As John Gruber wrote in his excellent piece, "Microsoft’s Long, Slow Decline":
People who love computers overwhelmingly prefer to use a Mac today. Microsoft’s core problem is that they have lost the hearts of computer enthusiasts. Regular people don’t think about their choice of computer platform in detail and with passion like nerds do because, duh, they are not nerds. But nerds are leading indicators.
Microsoft’s losses to Apple aren’t based on "regular people" choosing the Mac. Rather, these "regular people" were encouraged to do so by the geeks in their lives who had made the switch to a Mac years ago. Consumer technology vendors can ignore the alpha geek niche at their peril.
Louis Gray has a long term view.
Google’s preview of the Chrome OS was more than a product release. It was a milestone in a vision of a Web-centric world, one in which we are increasingly living.
For the vast majority of my own activity, I am online, not using software. I intentionally use some applications, like Microsoft’s Office suite or Adobe Photoshop, quickly, and then close them just as quickly, as to not slow down my computer’s performance. Google’s Chrome OS is the latest development in a vision that says our activity will be online, our data will be stored in the cloud, and applications that have traditionally been desktop software will make their way online.
Under no uncertain terms, I agree with their vision. This is happening and it is happening fast.
Robert Scoble (an ex-Microsoft himself) has as usual a more documented insight on his blog.
Google is playing a different game. Google Chrome OS is NOT about killing Microsoft or Apple.
What is it about? Developers, developers, developers, developers, developers.
This reminds me of the famous video where Steve Ballmer cheers up the developer’s audience in the good old days. It looks however – like pointed out in the neutral article above – that Microsoft has lost its’ “clout” with the developers at large.
It’s even getting worse: last week at PDC, Ray Ozzie was saying that apps won’t be a differentiating factor on smart phones. Sounds a bit arrogant to me when you know that iPhone Appstore has 100,000+ apps in store, and Android Marketplace building up fast.
I have not seen a single thing demonstrated on stage yet that won’t run on Google Chrome OS.
This is a winner, but on a new field