Tree of Eden

Charge of Google’s light brigade – BBC NEWS | Business |

Posted in Uncategorized by T.Salami on July 9, 2009

So at long last Google is making its move. Promising a lightweight but fast operating system – Chrome OS – the internet search company is poised to strike at the heart of Microsoft’s software empire.

Google promises to change all that by stripping desktop computing to its basics. Your PC won’t have to do the heavy lifting, applications will run in your browser instead, powered by Google’s huge server farms.

It comes down to a clash of business models. Microsoft earns money by charging customers a one-off fee for its operating system, probably $20 for its old Windows XP software, and a rumoured $150 for Windows Vista and the forthcoming Windows 7, which is due to go on sale this autumn.

Google is unlikely to charge for Chrome OS. The company wants you to get online fast, have a whale of a time… and use as many Google services as you can: from search to email, social networking to photo sharing, word processing, to watching films on YouTube.

It is yet another incarnation of the company’s “Google everywhere” strategy.

Chrome OS also shows what you can achieve when you sit on a huge cash pile, attract some of the world’s best software engineers and – most importantly – start with a blank slate.

Google has a track record. Not that long ago the firm announced that it was developing an operating system for smartphones, dubbed Android (which is distinct from Chrome OS).

Microsoft executives that I spoke to back then were dismissive, arguing that Google was underestimating the complexity of such a venture. But already Android is in many ways a more accomplished piece of software than version 6.1 of Microsoft’s Windows Mobile.

Google is helped by the fact that unlike Microsoft it has no need to worry about compatibility with legacy software.

That, however, could also be the Achilles heel of Chrome OS.

Consumers who want to buy a Chrome OS computer will have to start with a blank slate as well. Any software that they hold near and dear is unlikely to be compatible with the new system.

And they have to limit their ambitions. If you play computer games, do heavy-duty video or picture editing, or need any kind of specialised software, then you’ll return to the shelves heaving with Microsoft powered PCs or Apple Macs.

via BBC NEWS | Business | Charge of Google’s light brigade.

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