Friday, October 9, 2009

Does Microsoft need to worry about Google’s Chrome Operating System?

The short answer is no. It’s my opinion that Microsoft will most likely benefit from Google’s new OS. Most of Microsoft’s advances have been driven by its competition. Take a look back at the browser wars. Internet Explorer had enjoyed a virtual Internet browser monopoly. After Microsoft’s attempt to block Netscape from being installed on Windows failed, other Web browsers began to emerge…specifically Mozilla’s Firefox. Firefox introduced some cool plug-ins, and the convenient tabbed browsing experience. To compete with Mozilla, Microsoft started to make improvements to Internet Explorer…this is the Microsoft way. The bottom line is Internet Explorer improved enough to be considered “as good” as Firefox.

Need more proof? Look at how Microsoft has responded to Apple’s competitive advantage regarding security. Apple is just known to have better security against virus, and spyware attacks, while Windows is well…Windows. In response, Microsoft beefed up its security by adding a security console, which has a built in Firewall, and provides automatic security updates. Vista improved on the concept by adding malware protection to the security suite. Internet Explorer 8 added a phising filter.

Microsoft’s reputation of being an imitator instead of an innovator is one of the reasons people dislike Microsoft. However, Microsoft’s strategy to incorporate the competitions innovations could work well against Google’s Chrome OS.

Google is making the case that cloud computing will be the way everyone will access applications. In other words, the Web will become the platform for almost every application. Based on the popularity of cloud computing in public and private sectors, Google has a valid point.

The question on my mind is what can Google offer that Microsoft can’t? If Chrome’s emphasis is to develop a web optimized operating system, Microsoft’s response will be to simply beef up Windows so that it too will be more optimized for the web.

One scenario Microsoft would hate to see would be a hugely successful Chrome OS that creates a revolution…a revolution that cannot be stopped by mere imitation. Think of how the I-pod has revolutionized the MP3 wouldn’t it be awesome if Google could pull off an OS revolution?

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