Five Reasons Google Chrome OS Will Fail  

Posted by dhamotharan in , ,




1. Netbooks aren't the world

Netbooks may be important, but they remain a tiny part of the world's PC sales. Google's bet is predicated on strong demand for weak computers. It also takes advantage of a kink in Microsoft's armor: MS actually needs to sell its operating systems while Google can, for now, afford to just give Chrome away.

However, operating systems have been given away for years now and Microsoft has persisted. Linux accounts for about 1 percent of the OS market today, and has already lost the battle for netbooks. And there is a reason for that: It isn't Windows.

Google is counting on users of small computers not being tied to specific applications and being willing to accept low cost and, perhaps, ease of use over a more familiar and more powerful environment.

Some doubtless are, but enough to really challenge Microsoft? Not anytime soon.

2. Microsoft Can Shoot to Kill

I'm Steve Ballmer and here's what I say: Windows 7 NB (for netbooks) will be free through all of 2010. Starting right now. Anything Google can do, Microsoft can--at least theoretically--do better. Google wants to give away a netbook operating system? So can Microsoft.

It will be hard for regulators to complain as Microsoft is now reacting to a powerful competitor's frontal assault on Windows. And placing and end date on the freebie--which can always be extended--allows MS to charge once Chrome is vanquished.

But, does Microsoft even have to do this? No. There is strong evidence--Linux on netbooks, for example--that Microsoft can still successfully charge for what other's give away.

Do not underestimate what can happen when Microsoft gets mad. The company's biggest enemy in recent years has been itself. A new external threat may help Ballmer & Co. sharpen their thinking and respond like an angry immune system to isolate and overwhelm a foreign organism, like Google.

3. Google Docs is the best they can do

So far, Googles efforts at creating cloud applications have been pretty feeble. Look at all the things Google Docs don't do that people need, at least occasionally. Google needs to prove that applications-as-a-service can match those users install. So far, it hasn't come close.

Google's cloud computing strategy so far is "applications lite," which may be fine for occasional use, just like a netbook, but don't meet enough needs to be a real solution.

4. Chrome isn't a "real" operating system

If I were building Chrome, I'd do everything possible to hide the operating system and hope users don't notice what's been left out.

But is that possible? At what point must something that looks and acts like an operating system be presented to users? How much functionality can be sacrificed to provide ease-of-use? Google describes Chrome almost as though an operating system can do all its work behind-the-scenes. I am not sure this is as possible as Google might like to believe.

The closer Chrome comes to being a "real" OS, the more Linux-y it will become. Oops! A one-way ticket on the Voyage to the Bottom of the Market awaits.

5. Compatibility matters

Compatibility, both hardware and software was the major reason why the world anointed Microsoft its King of Computing. You may not remember the days of incompatible word processors, spreadsheets, and file systems, but I do.

This entry was posted on 7/9/09 at 6:51 PM and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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