Sunday, 22 November 2009

Will Google Chrome OS Fail?

It might just be me. I might be biased because I'm a Linux user sick and tired of hearing Microsoft FUD about hardware support in Linux. But it seems to me as though the pro-Microsoft author of this article is suffering from a sever case of the skitters.

I mean isn't the writing on the wall for Microsoft and it's supporters? Linux is not as they claimed dead in the netbook market. It's flourishing apparently. Googles Android was not a failure as many predicted. In fact Googles smart-phone OS is gaining market share with ever increasing numbers of handsets appearing all the time while Windows is losing market share on the smart-phone.

Social media sites like Facebook are becoming increasingly important to mobile devices. So important in fact apps on smart-phones to access sites like Facebook seem to be essential features to just sell a handset. However Randall C Kennedy seems to think Googles web-centric netbook OS will fail? He thinks Linux is fatal flaw number one? A web based interface is fatal flaw number 2 and an inflexible hardware platform is also a fatal flaw.

For those reasons Googles web based OS will fail.

Personally I say he's wrong and here's why. People love Google for one simple reason. Google provides insanely useful services to people all over the world. And from the point of view of normal web users at least, those services are totally free of charge. No costs involved.

The Amazon kindle and it's ilk are the second reason. The fact that you can't upgrade a kindle the same way you can upgrade a desktop PC hasn't stopped people from buying them. The fact that the Kindle doesn't play with an iPod hasn't stopped people buying them. Even the fact that Amazon can and will delete your purchases at will for whatever reason it sees fit hasn't stopped people buying the Amazon kindle and similar devices. All of which by the way run an OS based on Linux.

But it's not the OS that's important here. It's how useful the device is to the consumer and how profitable it will be for the vendors. Get those two things right and you have a product you can sell to people with confidence. I strongly suspect netbook manufacturers will put their own spin on the basic Chrome OS user interface as they have done with Android.

Linux as a "device" OS has in fact been extreamly successful. Linux powers everything from toasters and satnavs all the way up to DVD players, smart-phones, ebook readers and beyond. None of these "devices" seem to be "failing". Consumers don't care that these devices run Linux. They just want them to work. Which is a key point Microsoft apologisers like Randall C. Kennedy always deliberately miss.

People don't care which operating system is on their PC, their smart-phone or their netbook. What they care about is, does it work? Does it let them do the things they want to do the way they want to do them? Google are answering those questions. Microsoft keep serving up more of the same.

Now it's interesting to note that while Chrome OS isn't even completed yet. Microsoft apologists have it marked as a failure. Could this be to distract attention away from the failure of Windows 7 to convert the Windows XP faithful? Windows 7 has been such a great success Microsoft and it's army of apologetic bloggers are already talking about Windows 8 arriving in 2012 (the end of the world apparently) and even Windows 9!

It's time the Microsoft faithfull woke up to reality. Microsoft just aren't going to have it all their own way any longer. At least not by playing nice.