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Microsoft vs. Google — Mutually Assured Destruction 416

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the pieces-are-everywhere dept.
jmcbain writes "Robert X. Cringely asserts that nothing good will come out of the ongoing war between Microsoft and Google: 'The battle between Microsoft and Google entered a new phase last week with the announcement of Google's Chrome Operating System — a direct attack on Microsoft Windows. This is all heady stuff and good for lots of press, but in the end none of this is likely to make a real difference for either company or, indeed, for consumers. It's just noise — a form of mutually assured destruction intended to keep each company in check.'"
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Microsoft vs. Google — Mutually Assured Destruction

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  • by billstewart (78916) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:09PM (#28677735) Journal

    Kaboom!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Gay for Linux (942545) *
      The issue here is less whether competition or good or bad (competition is good) but whether a downward spiral of free crap (see Office being given away online) will reduce in loss-leaders that kill both business models leaving everyone bust.

      Hence nuclear software wasteland.
      • by Chyeld (713439) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dleyhc.> on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:26PM (#28678103)

        Actually the issue is less "will free crap ruin us" and is more "will pointless free crap, just released in an attempt to shore up eroding market share ruin us". And the answer is, yes. But as only one of the companies involved is attempting to make up their costs for giving stuff away for free by doing it in 'volume' and the other is using free stuff to expand their actual revenue stream, the posited scenario is a straw man.

        • by pin0chet (963774) on Monday July 13, 2009 @01:29PM (#28679225)
          What's so bad about the emergence of "free crap?" Gmail, Google Earth, Bing, Hulu, Google Docs are all pretty solid services considering the price tag...
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Shakrai (717556)

            What's so bad about the emergence of "free crap?" Gmail, Google Earth, Bing, Hulu, Google Docs are all pretty solid services considering the price tag...

            And at least one of those (Hulu) probably isn't going to survive as a free service due to the expense of providing it.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Trails (629752)
              A happy medium will always be found between the cost of supplying a service and the desire to pay for a service. If ad-supported can't cut it, and no one wants to pay, the happy medium is the death of the service.
          • by Chyeld (713439) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dleyhc.> on Monday July 13, 2009 @01:51PM (#28679669)

            As long as you have a point to it, nothing. But if you are doing it just 'because all the cool kids are' then eventually you are going to have to face the realization that you still need to be able to make money to pay for it.

            Google, despite their rep for dipping a finger in everything, tends to have a fairly reasonable track record for having a plan to monetize their services.

            Microsoft, on the other hand, seems to just shit things out and hope enough people will like it and use it.

            Bing is what, their fifth go at being a search engine? Not once actually having any sense of what they wanted to be other than a "Google-killer", even before Google 'needed' killing.

            Thats the problem. Microsoft is the proverbial monkey throwing feces at the wall to see what sticks. And the problem with that is if Microsoft decides something you like isn't sticking well enough, well it's off to the chopping block again and lets hope the next iteration is something you can at least stand.

  • by linumax (910946) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:10PM (#28677739)
    The phenomenon you are witnessing is also known as competition in some circles. It has been known to exist in the world of business for a very very long time.
    • by jmyers (208878) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:24PM (#28678047)

      Of course if you read the article, I know it is a lot to ask, you will find that he is not talking about competition. For the very short summary.

      MS Makes money from Windows and Office.
      Google makes money from search based advertising.
      Nothing else really matters to either company.

      MS attempts at the search ad market and Google's attempts are the OS market are not intended to succeed. They are just the corporate equivalent or "be nice to me or I will fuck your girlfriend". Both side know the other has no chance, but the media loves to talk about it.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:38PM (#28678307)

        why?

        why cant google create a successful operating system? would it be so out of the realm of possibility to see "google os" displayed alongside microsoft windows, in shrink-wrap packaging, at your local best buy? and perhaps significantly cheaper, and catering to a certain market who do not require Office but simply internet access with a few applications?

      • Of course if you read the article, I know it is a lot to ask, you will find that he is not talking about competition. For the very short summary.

        MS Makes money from Windows and Office. Google makes money from search based advertising. Nothing else really matters to either company.

        MS attempts at the search ad market and Google's attempts are the OS market are not intended to succeed. They are just the corporate equivalent or "be nice to me or I will fuck your girlfriend". Both side know the other has no chance, but the media loves to talk about it.

        Of course it's competition - it's the corporate equivalent of deploying forces to keep the other side's amin forces in check without overly threatining them. The idea is to make a counter move more expensive than it's worth and tie up resources that could be used elsewhere.

        As long as both sides are reasonably rational and not out to destroy the other at all costs it works reasonably well. Both sides carve up the market, smaller players get marginalized and both big player's main markets are reasonably sec

      • by Svippy (876087)

        MS attempts at the search ad market and Google's attempts are the OS market are not intended to succeed. They are just the corporate equivalent or "be nice to me or I will fuck your girlfriend". Both side know the other has no chance, but the media loves to talk about it.

        I wouldn't be so sure.

        Google has certainly sort of suggested that it cannot use search based advertisement forever. And Google have been trying to get its foot in the door in some other businesses than advertisement.

        So far, however, success has been limited. And while Microsoft and Google may be earning cash from those things right now, there is still an unsteady and unforeseeable future ahead of us.

        So Google's OS may not be its most serious attempt into another market, but I doubt they are doing it witho

      • Re:Dear Mr Cringley (Score:4, Interesting)

        by poetmatt (793785) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:51PM (#28678511) Journal

        If you think companies don't diversify, you are horribly mistaken.

        Do you think that Kraft foods only makes cheese for example? Companies diversify into similar fields.

        From a consumer point of view you are dead correct in that you are oblivious to the other dealings of many companies. MS makes money from things other than windows and office. Lots of other things. If that was all they did, they'd go broke. They make money off programming deals, etc. The closest thing to say about MS and google is: they both profit from software, internet, and hardware. Thus isn't not even expanding their capability, just more work in a field they already work in.

        MS attempts at search have been horrible as they haven't improved anything [searchenginejournal.com] and have been using them to hide data [blackdog.ie](look up situations involving bing on that - search anything that is negative about MS). I'm not saying google's attempts at an OS are going to be 100 % successful (as nobody can predict the future with an uneducated guess), but android is optimized for ARM, so it actually makes sense to create a separate OS. Plus, they have a ton of programmers?

        Wow, when MS said they had something to announce monday, I didn't think it'd be an article full of spin.

      • by ajs (35943) <ajs@nOsPam.ajs.com> on Monday July 13, 2009 @01:02PM (#28678717) Homepage Journal

        Of course if you read the article, I know it is a lot to ask, you will find that he is not talking about competition.

        Of course not. This is Robert X. Cringely. He's talking about "war ... destruction ... horrible nasty ... look at the bones!"

        He's a loud, but relatively uninsightful prognosticator of tech markets. Nothing to see here.

        More to the point, he's wrong. Microsoft and Google aren't involved in a "war", they're involved in a re-alignment of the market. Google is attempting to assert that the market for operating systems is so moot that there's no longer a value in productizing the OS itself so much as the service of maintaining it. Microsoft is asserting that "uhh... we can do search just as well as Google did 5 years ago. So there."

        Feel free to select your "winner" in this non-war.

      • I would disagree (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HangingChad (677530)

        Nothing else really matters to either company.

        In my opinion Google is much better positioned to gain future market share than MS. If you haven't had a chance to play around with GoogleVoice, you owe it to yourself to try it. The integration of the web, telephony and email. Amazing as it is now, they're just scratching the surface of the true potential.

        With Chrome, Google will be in a position to integrate email, telephony, productivity, social media interaction, photo and video management, all in a

      • Re:Dear Mr Cringley (Score:4, Interesting)

        by hey! (33014) on Monday July 13, 2009 @05:04PM (#28682585) Homepage Journal

        Well, I did read the article, and I have to say it didn't exactly meet high standards of analytical brilliance.

        There's a very simple reason for Microsoft to try search business away from Google. If Google makes money at it, then so can Microsoft.

        On the other hand, the idea that Google's Chrome OS is going to be a threat to MS Windows on the desktop anytime soon is fantasy. Think about Android. Android is a fascinating OS, but it hasn't taken the phone world by storm -- yet.

        I think that Google may be more interested in defining the capabilities of classes of devices. The thing about laptops and desktops is that the platform vendor is not in the capability limiting business. On a mobile phone, it is, because people don't pay for most of their phones. The carriers do, and the carriers are interested in things like lock-in and preventing competition with network services by software using generic network services. Android, I think, is an attempt to liberalize controls on what mobile devices can do.

        Likewise in the great spectrum auction, Google tried to leverage their participation into a change of the auction's rules.

        So, putting on my wildass speculation hat for a moment, I am lead to wonder whether the Chrome operating system is an attempt to alter the course of the netbook space away from devices that are artificially constrained, and possibly which tie users to specific networks and service providers. One can imagine a version of Windows for netbooks carefully constrained so it doesn't undermine the main Windows product, and which tries to funnel users toward Bing. Given Microsoft's clout with manufacturers, they could well launch such a device. It could be sold at very low margins from Microsoft's perspective because it would generate a regular revenue stream.

        That kind of closed world is bad for Google. It doesn't have to take the world by storm with these offerings, it just has to tip developments in the right places to keep the world open. A straight-jacketed version of Windows XP that funnels users to MS services but is cheap to put on a netbook might seem like a good deal to a manufacturer, but not if they have to put their systems up against a more open one.

    • by scubamage (727538) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:53PM (#28678551)
      What is this commie liberal pinko "competition" bs. This is the United States of America. Everyone knows that capitalism works by litigating your competitors into oblivion, not by creating better products and services. Why, just look at the telephone, cable, satellite, and **AA providers.
  • M.A.D. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Gerafix (1028986) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:10PM (#28677751)
    The only way to win is... CTRL+ALT+DELETE
  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:10PM (#28677769)
    Edison used to say that Tesla's newfangled alternating current was dangerous, unstable and just plain dirty electricity. I guess that's why a hundred years later, we don't use it anymo- oh wait.
  • Competition (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:11PM (#28677781) Homepage
    How is competition between brands not good for the customer?
  • war (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brenddie (897982) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:11PM (#28677783)
    Nothing like a little war to advance the state of technology.
  • I for one am pleased that another company is attempting to take a slice of the OS market. Competition will bring innovation and invention. Maybe we'll actually start to see something NEW emerge and not just recycled ideas.

    With any luck, Google and MS will battle it out for a long time in the OS department.

  • The dude probably knows a thing or two about useless noise.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:14PM (#28677843)

    I don't think the author of the summary understands the meaning of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).

    If the MAD policy were in effect and "shots" were being fired, both companies would fall...

    If by MAD the author presumes that Google will somehow be able to use its operating system as an assault on Windows, that would also assume that Microsoft could/would use Windows as an assault on Google AND since Google cannot reciprocate in kind, Microsoft would somehow have the ability to kill off Google currently. The day Microsoft hardcodes into Windows the inability to access Google, that'll be the day Microsoft Windows officially begins its death spiral...

    I just don't see this analogy making sense...

    • Me neither.

      What Google s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, has to fear more than anything else is that heâ(TM)ll awake one day to learn that the Google search engine suddenly doesn t work on any Windows computers: something happened overnight and what worked yesterday doesnâ(TM)t work today. It would have to be an act of deliberate sabotage on Microsoft s part and blatantly illegal, but that doesnâ(TM)t mean it couldn t happen. Microsoft would claim ignorance and innocence and take days, weeks or months to reverse the effect, during which time Google would have lost billions.

      Does he _really_ think Microsoft would do that? How? Some intentionally broken windows update? If they really could do that (and I don't think it's possible in any way), and if they really did that, then:

      1 - Google and people all around the world would figure out ways of making google work again in any Windows computer.

      2 - Microsoft would drown itself in legal issues in no time.

      • by eln (21727)
        It's certainly possible, and there are several ways to do it. They could cripple their resolver so any DNS requests for google.com would mysteriously fail. They could screw with the TCP stack to make requests to Google's IP block fail. There are other ways too, those are just the ones I thought of off the top of my head. Getting these changes out to a large percentage of Windows users is simple, since most either have automatic updates turned on, or install updates manually without really digging in to
        • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Monday July 13, 2009 @01:01PM (#28678697) Journal
          Even if they pulled it off, breaking into an OS market dominated by a single player with a huge entrenched base of applications is hard, and even Google may find it more trouble than it's worth. Google may seem huge and unstoppable, but even they have their limits.

          The idea is not really get a huge market share on corporate sector. It is just to play havoc with Microsoft's standard strategy of forcing upgrades, changing file formats to continue the vendor lock etc. Once Firefox got just 10% market share the web sites started coding for the standards and stopped special hacks for IE and IE's market share came tumbling down.

          Once ChromeOS establishes a net presence and demands interoperability with ExchangeServer, ExchangeServer will have to become standard compliant. iPhone could do that, but Apple is more likely to make a deal with Microsoft and get a special closed API support from MSFT leaving others to lurch.

          Once google docs, and other office replacements reach a market share of about 10%, and they interact with some 10% of the established MsOffice users and demand compatibility and interoperability, maintaining vendor lock by the traditional methods of API changes, file format changes, mysterious bugs that affect others but not Microsoft etc would not fly.

          When Microsoft products follow open standards and are interoperable, the profit margins will shrink. That is the only way for Google to survive. As long as Microsoft has cash cows, it will be able undercut competition drive them out of business and resume business as usual. That is the threat Google is fighting off.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tibman (623933)

          I think if Google ever does decide to go after Windows directly, they'll find that a real full-featured modern operating system (not just a glorified web browser) is a lot more difficult to create than they think.

          They are going to use the Linux kernel with their own Xserver and windowing system (afaik). Using the linux kernel is going to save them untold amounts of development time. So they are basically making a Distro and not an OS. This gives google a huge application pool to draw from. They can pick

    • by spyrochaete (707033) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:22PM (#28678009) Homepage Journal

      In the conclusion of the article the author talks about how Google and Microsoft will not defeat each other, but some third player will storm in with innovative new ideas and steal the show. It's more like Mutually Assured Distraction in that they will be blindsided by some up-and-comer who is more in tune with what end users really need.

  • Right.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:14PM (#28677849)

    or, indeed, for consumers. It's just noise -- a form of mutually assured destruction intended to keep each company in check

    How is it MAD? MS, try as it might, simply can't make a search engine that is going to be used more than Google's. Google will still lose out to Windows on a few things even with Chrome OS, for one being the large amount of specialty applications out there for Windows.

  • Chrome OS will mark the first "real" year of the Linux desktop. Goodbye X.Org, and good riddance.
    • by Zigurd (3528)

      X client for Chrome OS written using GWT in 3, 2, 1...

      Seriously though, Chrome OS will be more hackable than a phone OS, which, in the form of Android is pretty open anyway. So even if Google intends the userland to be primarily running in the Chrome javaScript runtime environment, it seems inevitable that X and general-purpose Linux desktop apps will find their way onto Chrome OS screens.

  • Sure, consumers won't care at first, but the fact that Chrome OS is open source will have, in my opinion, a long term impact on the industry and thus eventually the consumers. Sorry, I would bet Cringely is wrong on that one.

    • by powerlord (28156)

      Exactly.

      Cringley seems to feel that this is just a MAD scenario without realizing that:

      1) Neither Google nor Microsoft has Nuclear weapons they can blow up the other one with.

      2) Ubuntu on Netbooks was the point of the Wedge for getting Linux available as an option from mainstream Computer vendors (Heck DELL was offering it to Customers as a standard option!).

      3) Google has a HUGE name recognition for "doing things that work" that might allow them to market Linux to some of the masses ("Hey, Google made it, s

  • "a form of mutually assured destruction intended to keep each company in check"

    And that's bad? ;-)

    Seriously though, the competition between the two is only good if it also increases choice in the sectors where each company is *already dominant*. If MS and Google both have healthy search solutions that we can choose between, that's good. If MS and Google both have healthy OS solutions we can choose from, that's good too. If the two of them merely retain their traditional dominant position whilst rattling

    • RTFA (Score:2, Insightful)

      by masmullin (1479239)
      I think Cringely's point is that it isn't real competition. Cringely is stating that a cold war of sorts exists between the two companies. Google points it's missiles (chrome browser, chrome OS) at MS, while MS points missiles back (Bing).

      Cringely is stating that if one company decided to REALLY attack the other, they would start throwing serious resources into the projects (rather than 20 or 30 engineers they'd throw hundreds), and basically eat each others lunch.
      • The, admittedly poor, opening joke wasn't really the point I wanted to make. I was commenting on the fact that only *real* competition is valuable to consumers and even then only if *both* companies make a genuine effort to compete on each other's turf. Anything short of genuine competition is of little use to the consumers, although it may be beneficial economically to the customers involved.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:18PM (#28677917) Homepage Journal

    honestly, i dont know whether if he is. he surely sounds like one.

  • And Bing...? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by openfrog (897716) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:18PM (#28677919)

    Are not Ballmer intentions to destroy Google notorious ("I will fucking kill them")?

    Why should launching a Web OS for netbooks be considered a declaration of war, while launching a search engine (Bing) be considered business as usual?

    As another poster wrote, this is called competition and let the better OS win.

    • Bing is just the latest iteration of Microsoft's search engine. Just a quick glance seems to indicate that "official" search engines from Google and MS have been around since 1998 and 1999, respectively.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sorak (246725)

      Why should either be a declaration of war? And what's with this comment about microsoft hard-coding Windows to not allow people to use Google (what, are they so desperate to get rid of Google that they will block Google's IP addresses, or has Cringely never heard of Firefox?)
      .
      This whole thing sounds like a paranoid conspiracy theory, written by a fifteen year-old schoolgirl who just saw a Veronica Mars marathon.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ignavus (213578)

      Microsoft does not compete. Microsoft kills, destroys, eliminates, obliterates. It does not compete.

      Google is simply aware that to exist it must fight.

      As long as MS owns the desktop, it will try to leverage that to funnel users into Microsoft products and services and away from its competitors.

      Of course, Google tries to do the same thing, as does Apple. Which is why I avoid proprietary OSs - they think they own you.

      FOSS is a gift. Proprietary software is a baited hook.

  • Spy vs Spy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CodeBuster (516420) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:19PM (#28677943)
    Does this whole thing remind anyone else of Spy vs Spy [wikipedia.org]? From TFA: "But companies, like people, strive and dream and in this case both dream, at least sometimes, of destroying the other. Only they can't -- or won't -- do it in the end, because it is against the interests of either company to do so."
  • How riduculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oodaloop (1229816) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:21PM (#28677975)
    FTFA:

    The vast majority of Google searches are, of course, done on PCs running Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer. It is not in Googleâ(TM)s real interest to displace these products, which have facilitated so much of its success.

    So Google doesn't make money from people running other OS's? Google ads don't appear in my browser when I'm running Ubuntu? Would the Google Chrome OS or browser presumably block its own ads? Now I understand why this has the tag diecringleydie.

  • Clearly competition between the two companies is a bad thing. It'll be just like the cold war where both sides made huge technological advances without actually doing any harm to each other or those on the sidelines, very bad news indeed.
  • by Dracos (107777) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:24PM (#28678057)

    Mutually assured distraction?

  • by gubers33 (1302099) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:28PM (#28678139)
    Robert Hansen found a flaw in the first day of using it that Chrome allows Javascript to run in View Source, meaning you can't check potentially harmful pages without Javascript running off. Didn't Chrome market itself as the most secure browser? Anyway IE, Firefox, Safari and Opera all caught this, yet Google missed it with Chrome. I'm sure their new operating system will have tons of neat features just like their browser, but will they miss out on the security end again while boasting they are the most secure? I'll still with my Ubuntu and Firefox for now thank you and avoid both Microsoft and Googles security flaws.
    • by jo_ham (604554)

      So you'll just stick with Ubuntu and Firefox's security flaws then...

      It's a silly argument to claim that all of their marketing as the most secure browser is totally void because a security flaw is found. *Of course* people are going to find them, and then they'll be patched up.

      Linux markets itself as more secure than Windows. So does OS X. Is that somehow void because they, too, have security flaws just like Windows?

      Then the beauty of the open source nature of Chrome will mean that security fixes will be a

  • Hopefully, this results in MS making their OS either cheaper, or free and finding another way to make their money that doesn't suck. I expect them to sell space in a cloud OS like everyone else, by and by, since they too seem to share the hallucination of "always connected" internet.

  • I'm actually really excited about the idea of a Google backed Linux distro (which is what it seems like they're making). They've got the money to hire a team to make a wonderful looking desktop manager while also having the programming know how to make the thing beautifully slim and fast. Plus with Google's backing perhaps there's a chance more software will be ported to/made to run on Linux and perhaps more people will be enticed to try the new "Google laptop" which would just be a netbook running Google's
    • Distros like openSUSE have been cutting staff do to the economy. In many ways, I think the Linux desktop is very close, but still has some obvious warts. Someone with the wallet and clout of Google can squash those warts. We may literally be looking at an OS launching next year that boots in 10 seconds, actually runs fast on a netbook with 1 gig of RAM (as opposed to the Vista Starer basic netbooks it will compete against) and will be vastly more secure.

      However, I'm not sure Google is known for advertising.

  • ..."with the announcement of Google's Chrome Operating System -- a direct attack on Microsoft Windows..."

    I do not think so. Microsoft unlike Google, is involved in much more...that is Server and Desktop Operating Systems and Media Players.

    Google's move is an indirect attack but not a direct one.

  • by Renderer of Evil (604742) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:36PM (#28678269) Homepage

    What Google's chief executive, Eric Schmidt, has to fear more than anything else is that he'll awake one day to learn that the Google search engine suddenly doesn't work on any Windows computers: something happened overnight and what worked yesterday doesn't work today. It would have to be an act of deliberate sabotage on Microsoft's part and blatantly illegal, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen. Microsoft would claim ignorance and innocence and take days, weeks or months to reverse the effect, during which time Google would have lost billions.

    Jesus.

    This is like bad science fiction, written before the internet was invented - by Dan Brown. Cringely is such a tool.

  • Chrome the browser wasn't much of an attack on IE. Is Chrome the OS an attack on Windows?

    You can argue that Chrome the OS is more likely to cannibalize the Linux and Apple market. Consider that Chrome is supposed to be this fast, sleek, secure OS. It is built upon a posix-compliant kernel with a new windowing system thrown on top. Steve Jobs health is in question, Apple's stock keeps dipping and people are questioning the future of Apple. Honestly, I think Redmond is offended by Chrome. But Cupertino is the


  • Windows=Local Desktop
    Chrome OS=Internet Desktop

    Want Photoshop? Games? (local) Office? virustrojansmailwares? There Microsoft is king.

    But want the fastest and more secure full internet based desktop? There that be microsoft or not is not relevant (well, the secure part could matter). You could run Windows, Linux, OS X and you'll get most if not all that will be used thru Chrome OS. What it will be doing is a base reference of speed and security. If Microsoft want to defeat that, should fix those 2 points, no
  • It's hard to believe that the Google Chrome OS will have any short-term effect since it doesn't come out for a year minimum. It's like saying that gasoline prices will change next summer -- who cares now?

    The big deal about Chrome is that it will run on ARM, and that's more about breaking the Intel monopoly than the Microsoft monopoly -- which I think is a good thing!
  • The Network Computer [wikipedia.org] was developed by Oracle and partners to take out Microsoft and Microsoft Windows.

    The Network Computer was a diskless workstation that used the Internet for storage was supposed to take out or at least compete with Microsoft. It ran things like JavaOS, etc. It eventually flopped.

    Oracle eventually bought out Sun, one of the Network Computers partners.

    The Chrome OS netbook is basically another Network Computer type scenario, designed to take out Microsoft or at least compete with it. Good

  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:45PM (#28678427) Homepage

    Here's what would be a "direct attack" on Windows:

    Attempting to hack into Microsoft's corporate intranet and delete the source code and documentation for Windows.
    Releasing into the wild malware that targets windows installed base and destroys systems that run Windows.

    Taking on a project to come up with your own operating system isn't an attack on Windows. It's competition. Windows doesn't have any inherent right to its marketshare.

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowsky@nOsPAm.gmail.com> on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:57PM (#28678639) Homepage Journal

    If it wasn't for Google Chrome and Firefox, we would still be using IE6.

    If it wasn't for Linux, there would probably not nearly the investment in Vista and Win7 that there has been.

    And, I guarantee you, that if there were no Linux free IDEs, there would be no Visual Studio Express. I doubly guarantee you, that, if there was no gcc, there would be no standards compliant C++ in Visual Studio.

    Google may not conquer the world with Chrome OS, and I think will ultimately lose to Microsoft, but, competition benefits everyone.

    What will Google do to bolster search to respond to Bing? How will Adobe respond to Silverlight... you can laugh at Silverlight 1.0, dismiss 2.0, but MS has away of just chugging away like the borg when they want to attack a market.

    It's all bound to keep people on their toes. What would be the alternative? A treaty between Google and Microsoft keeping each other in the browser and desktop, respectively? That would suck.

  • by Zigurd (3528) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:58PM (#28678653) Homepage

    Chrome OS fills a number of needs. Whether these turn out to be the needs of end-users remains to be seen, but Chrome OS is not just some industry giants engaging in a slanging match:

    1. Chrome OS will help segment Atom from Pentium and Core. That's a pretty big need right there, for Intel, anyway.

    2. It could fill a not-yet-filled void: There is a very good chance Chrome will end up dominating netbook Linux the way Android is on the way to dominating handset Linux. Android is a really nice system, and deserves to win versus most other mobile Linux alternatives. Android is accelerating the use of Linux in handsets. Chrome might be that much better than other netbook Linuxes that it, too, ends up dominating and expanding it's market segment.

    3. OEMs have been porting Android to devices that may not be the best match for Android. Chrome OS is a better answer than diluting or de-focusing Android to make it a more universal OS.

    4. It completes the strategic picture for GWT, Gears, and Chrome: Google has a multi-layered strategy to make their applications run on any OS and any browser. If GWT and Gears on IE on Windows 7 are one end of the spectrum, Chrome OS is the other end. Microsoft has an OS platform where they can integrate search and the cloud and local applications. Now Google does, too.

    I would not be surprised to see an Android application runtime on Chrome OS, alongside the browser/JavaScript runtime.

  • CRINGELY is an Idiot (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mlwmohawk (801821) on Monday July 13, 2009 @01:05PM (#28678791)

    Ahh, there I said it. It feels good to say it.

    He's the broken clock of pundits, he's right twice a day, but only by accident.

    The problem with Google vs Microsoft is that Google should have made this move 6 years ago and it would have been in place to capitalize on the fiasco that is/was Vista.

    The advantage Google has over, say, Canonical with Ubuntu, ls that everyone knows who Google is, sheesh, its used as a verb. Google docs is getting some uptake in smaller companies. OpenOffice is getting some uptake in others. The economy is helping the lower cost alternatives. People with skills are losing jobs and turning to lower cost or free alternatives in order to make money contracting.

    Google can deal with Intuit, Adobe, and others to get their apps ported to Linux.

    Google has the resources to make it happen. To beat Microsoft on the desktop market. The question is will they?

  • by deanston (1252868) on Monday July 13, 2009 @01:17PM (#28679025)
    People need to be reminded of this over and over to put things in perspective. Lots people are putting Google on a par with MSFT now and that is just plain wrong. Right now 90% of Google runs on top of Windows. It's like renting a lemonade stand inside a supermarket. I think most people misinterpret what Cringely is saying, or plain did not read the article. People are animals. Train them a certain way and they respond to your command. I've found Chrome unstable on Windows and Safari (both based on WebKit) much much slower on Windows than on a Mac. It would not take much for the Windows OS to somehow make using Google products so much harder and inconvenient, and people will switch back to using 90% all MSFT software and think there is actually fair competition. Google has to keep at more than just Search to ensure it has a reliable platform and venue for its search business.
  • by rs232 (849320) on Monday July 13, 2009 @01:19PM (#28679065)
    "The battle between Microsoft and Google entered a new phase last week with the announcement of Google's Chrome Operating System -- a direct attack on Microsoft Windows"

    Since when was the release of a new Operating System seen solely in terms of the producers of a mediocre GUI OS working out of Redmond. It also begs the question as to all the negative press about a yet to be delivered platform and the total silence regarding Apples offerings.
  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Monday July 13, 2009 @01:22PM (#28679119)

    MS would perish were their OS and Office sales to plummet. If the stars lined up for them, Google (or more likely someone else) do this with a competing product over many years.

    Google would perish were a large proportion of internet users to get savvy and block all their ads. I wonder whether MS could get away with adding adblocking to Windows that would eliminate all Google Ad revenue from MS-based products. That would probably get them in hot water, but easy access to addons for IE (assuming good adblockers exist for IE) with a suggestion to install the adblocker would maybe be a bit more feasible. To get away with it they'd have to sacrifice their own ad revenue as well, but unlike Google, they don't need it. Imagine MS killing the ad-funded web. How would web content change?

  • by Ephemeriis (315124) on Monday July 13, 2009 @01:27PM (#28679201)

    This is all heady stuff and good for lots of press, but in the end none of this is likely to make a real difference for either company or, indeed, for consumers. It's just noise â" a form of mutually assured destruction intended to keep each company in check.

    Mutually assured destruction? I believe the term you're looking for is "competition." It's that thing where multiple companies produce similar products and try to out-do each-other in an attempt to make people buy their products.

    The battle between Microsoft and Google entered a new phase last week with the announcement of Google's Chrome Operating System â" a direct attack on Microsoft Windows.

    How, exactly, is a glorified thin-client an attack on Microsoft Windows?

    Sure, a lot of stuff runs on the web these days... And I've argued that the trend will only continue... But this is like claiming that Wyse terminals are a direct attack on Dell's desktops.

  • Art of War? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by foley500 (958962) on Monday July 13, 2009 @01:30PM (#28679241)
    "All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near...." - Sun Tzu

    Isn't it possible that Google is simply refocusing the battlefield to the OS market as a tactic to keep MS scrambling on multiple fronts?

C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]

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