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Microsoft, Other Rivals Slam Google Chrome OS 324

Posted by timothy
from the obligatory-naysaying dept.
CWmike writes "Microsoft is, predictably, not all that impressed by Google Inc.'s demonstration of its upcoming Chrome OS. 'From what was shared, it appears to be in the early stages of development,' a Microsoft spokeswoman said. 'From our perspective, however, our customers are already voicing their approval of the way Windows 7 just works — across the Web and on the desktop, and on all sizes and types of PCs — purchasing twice as many units of Windows 7 as we've sold of any other operating system over a comparable time.' But neither were potential rivals who make Linux and instant-on operating systems. Chrome OS claimed 7-second boot times and the ability to run Web apps within another 3 seconds, which failed to impress Woody Hobbs, president and CEO of Phoenix Technologies, a long-time BIOS software maker that has re-invented itself with a Linux-based instant-on OS called HyperSpace. 'Instant-on is about being able to access your Internet applications in one second. Seven seconds is too long,' Hobbs said. 'There is no such thing as "cold boot" for today's mobile PCs such as netbooks and smartbooks. You should be able to use your netbook like you use your smartphone — a press of a button and you are "on."' Mark Lee, CEO of DeviceVM Inc., said Google's favoritism towards its own browser and Web apps could rub some users the wrong way, especially those outside of the US. 'In China, users prefer Baidu, not Google,' Lee said. DeviceVM's Splashtop platform boots into Firefox within seconds and uses Yahoo or Baidu as default search engines instead of Google."
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Microsoft, Other Rivals Slam Google Chrome OS

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  • Re:Dang! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @05:54PM (#30188240) Homepage Journal

    There is this automated internet kiosk system you can use here. You put a coin in the slot then it netboots windows. Its all memory resident so nothing gets preserved between sessions.

    I wonder if google could provide a BOOTP service for Chrome OS? That way you wouldn't actually need to keep it installed.

    Might have been easier if the image was smaller than 300 megabytes.

  • by jamesh (87723) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @06:06PM (#30188364)

    smartphone — a press of a button and you are "on."'

    I don't know what smartphones they are referring to. My iPhone and my laptop are seldom 'off'. They both go into standby when i'm not using them, the times to come out of standby are very similar, and if I actually had to type a password into my iPhone to bring it out of standby the computer would beat it by far.

    Has Mr Hobbs never turned a smartphone on from a complete off state? There is a negligible difference between booting my iPhone vs my Windows XP laptop. My old HP iPaq wasn't much different.

  • The point (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bonch (38532) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @06:16PM (#30188446)

    I just don't get the point. Everything Chrome OS runs can already be run by any other OS, so why not just use some other Linux distro that's not restricted to web apps?

  • by Linegod (9952) <pasnak@warpe[ ]s ... a ['dsy' in gap]> on Saturday November 21, 2009 @06:16PM (#30188448) Homepage Journal

    Tech blogs have been extrapolating from minor leaks ands rumours, generating the 'perfect' OS in their minds. When Google released what they think is going fill a niche - a smartphone on steroids - the tech blogs where crushed. Microsoft steps in to assure them that they will continue to have a hype cycle to satisfy their lust for ad revenue, and all is well in the Techblogosphere.

    In three or four years, when you can only get Chrome OS on a netbook, the geeks will turn against Google as well. It will be the same fight that was fought for the desktop, but this time it will be Ubuntu that that people will say doesn't let you mount a hard drive out of the box, since it is only SSD, which will be too difficult for the 'common user', and the geek culture will implode on itself as it struggles with it's fanatical devotion to a dumbed down Linux and their realization that Google and Canonical are run by the same type of people that cause them constant strife in their underpaid IT jobs.

    Either that, or like when Firefly was canceled, they will just go outside for a week, and wait until they are drawn back in....

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @06:19PM (#30188474)
    ... it's part of their paycheck to not be impressed with anything let alone admit it to the media.

    Do they use a press release response form ticking the checkboxes for all the usual lines?

    Oh come on, Chrome is no threat to desktops, because people will still need their rich apps on high-spec hardware, therefore desktops will be still around as a do-everything machine. Partly though, because laptops netbooks and smartphones haven't killed desktops yet. I fear though, Microsoft has for a long time been making Windows a one size fits all requirements OS, the indentical OS gets put on netbooks to top end workstations. Chrome OS will appeal people who just want web and social networking and a bit of mucking around with their digital photos, but previously had to fork out for more than they needed in a laptop and desktop.

    Having played around with the virtual machine images circulating, I don't think it's a threat to anything, but it looks pretty solid for a beta OS, but finally the ideal OS for the focused web tablet we've all been wanting for a long time. I also imagine the code could be rolled into existing linux distributions. It could coexist alongside other desktop environments ie KDE/Gnome, although I don't think Chrubuntu would be a very catch name.

    Oh and it's Linux, open source, if it is lacking any features we will fix it okay?
  • ...For now. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KingSkippus (799657) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @06:23PM (#30188500) Homepage Journal

    Anyone who thinks that once Google perfects this, they're going to be content to simply sit idle on the cloudbook (I'm making that word up; consider it public domain) market with it is fooling themselves.

    Google is also working on implementing 3D [slashdot.org] in the browser. They're also saying that for most features users use, Google Apps will be caught up with Microsoft Office [cnet.com] in a year. They're also working VERY hard on developing a standard codebase to implement a desktop UI within a browser [google.com], and they're making very good progress.

    Is Google overly optimistic? Maybe, but what company isn't? My point, though, is that they've got a LOT of really good things going for them. Don't dare think of Chrome as forever relegated to "OS-lite," or else you'll be making the same fundamental mistake that many other companies have made with Google. (And indeed, that a lot of them made with Microsoft in the past. "Oh, Internet Explorer will never catch up to Netscape." "Excel is like a scaled-down Lotus 123." "Our company has invested way too much in Netware to change." "Visual C++ is neat, but for serious development, go with Borland.")

    It's really kind of fun to watch a company out-Microsoft Microsoft, except in a good way. As far as I'm concerned, I hope Microsoft continues to think of ChromeOS as just a toy that will never be a serious contender with Windows outside of very limited niche devices.

  • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @06:26PM (#30188512) Homepage

    Richard Stallman says using cloud apps is stupid.

    On comp.os.linux.advocacy, about the only thing the anti-Linux trolls and the pro-Linux trolls agree on is that they aren't trusting their data to the cloud, so Chrome OS is not impressive to them.

  • by rmcd (53236) * on Saturday November 21, 2009 @06:42PM (#30188658)

    What people don't get about Google's software is that they are not selling it. That's not where their revenue comes from. They can spend a lot of time getting the software right, refocusing it, tweaking it, getting comments. Microsoft by contrast has to come out with the big "impressive" release every few years to keep the company afloat. That's their business model. It's not Google's.

    Look at Android. 18 months ago the cell phone execs were all saying that Google didn't understand how hard it is to create cellular phone software. The G1 got a lot of yawns. That reception would have been a disaster for Apple, but for Google it didn't matter, they just kept working on it. Today, Android is a serious competitor.

    Whatever Chrome does or doesn't do can be changed. And maybe it will flop. That won't be a huge deal for Google as long as they get their advertising on the next generation of devices.

  • What if? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel.hedblomNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday November 21, 2009 @06:53PM (#30188764) Homepage Journal

    What if someone successfully develops something like a cloud service with Wine+NX and lets you run any and all Windows apps out in the cloud? If they get an acceptable framerate out of it that should put most "but my application X dont work" to shame. The only problem i can see is doing that through the browser and get fast enough framerates for games.

    Im also wondering how much work it would be for Google to later on slap dalvik/android devkit onto the platform for local applications. Probably not that much i suspect.

    While Google Chrome OS starts out on the small netbooks etc i dont think they will stay there if they succeed in getting a piece of the market.

    The development that has lead up to this has been going on since long before Microsoft even discovered the internet. The whole browser war was about keeping applications tied to the local computers. Bill Gates and many other in MS said so themselves in discoveries during Gomes and MS vs. DOJ. The same goes for the Java poisoning. And now, trying to slip .net and silverlight out as X platform and then sneaking in platform dependant stuff.

    The natural development is going right in Googles direction with Microsoft working against it for everything they can. Its like a pent up dam, once a trickle starts its not long until the dam breaks and our computing as we know it is radically changed in a fairly short timespan.

    I think we have pretty interesting times ahead with much foulplay from a desperate Microsoft. They will stop at nothing to stomp Google to bits, absolutely nothing.

  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@ ... a - h u dson.com> on Saturday November 21, 2009 @06:59PM (#30188822) Journal

    The point is not to replace Windows, it's an OS for web surfing.

    Not really. People will buy a crippleware smartphone for that before they'll spend money on a crippleware computer. don't have to buy a separate keyboard, mouse or screen, portable, always-on, can run local apps instead of downloading everything off the web every time, apps work offline, more local storage, can make phone calls, videos, etc., and just way more cool.

    And the only people who will look at this are people too cheap to buy even a crappy $200 netbook or a smartphone. No advertiser is going to pay for clicks from them, so forget about subsidizing these boxes with revenue from search.

    Business won't want it because there's some data you just don't share, not to mention desktop clutter and more time wasted synching.

    This product is at least 3 years too late (and will be 4 years too late when it finally rolls out), and aims at a market nobody can make money with.

  • by rliden (1473185) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @07:03PM (#30188864)

    I think you hit the nail on the head. Google is solving a problem that doesn't exist. I have yet to hear anyone ask to do all their computing through a web browser.

    I love Chrome. It's my browser of choice most of the time. I'm a Google account/services user. I do think they provide an excellent web experience. I don't see them providing the same experience for my desktop as they do for the web. I guess we'll see how this unfolds though. Something tells me there is more to this than we're seeing.

  • Re:Dang! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel.hedblomNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday November 21, 2009 @07:09PM (#30188926) Homepage Journal

    That would actually not be hard at all for anyone. Since Chrome OS is open source you can do it today thanks to gpxe. The only problem would be getting the right answer out of your local dhcp like this:

    chain http://chrome.google.com/chromeos.gpxe [google.com]

    That could be solved by booting with an usb stick instead. The drawback would be how you verify its really Google youre downloading the system image from and not some random dns injecting hacker. I just got to try this, thanks for the idea!

  • by hattig (47930) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @07:09PM (#30188930) Journal

    Microsoft aren't considering:

    1) ARM version of Chrome OS - means $199 smartbooks instead of $299-$499 netbooks running Windows XP or Windows 7.

    2) OS is free.

    3) Actually Google might be offering a share of advertising revenue to manufacturers, as with Android. This means that the OS has a negative cost. We could see $149 smartbooks. Who is interested in a Windows 7 netbook at 3x the cost then?

    4) Good enough for a second/cloud computer. Especially if it supports the "home cloud" with support for DNLA (media streaming) and other common home/office services.

    However there are failings - firstly I think that Google need to make the OS Android compatible. I.e., installing the Dalvik VM and Android APIs by default. Android 2 allows higher resolutions. Android 3 will surely support resolutions up to smartbook (1024x600, 1366x768) and running an app as a tab within Chrome OS, allowing a unified platform. Surely therefore Chrome OS smartbooks will include multitouch displays...

    Also Chrome OS 1 will surely be rough, like Android 1 and the G1. Droid is showing what Android 2 can do, and it's far more mature. Android 3 will probably be the first all-rounded and sweetly remembered variant. Android 4 will be good too. Android 5 through 7 will be dire.

  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Saturday November 21, 2009 @07:53PM (#30189234) Homepage

    I can see a large market for this. It would be perfect for my Grandfather. He doesn't need photo editing or video capture. If he can turn the font size up, it would work great.

    Best of all, no maintenance, nothing to install, nothing to configure and fiddle with, just an appliance. People already try to use computers like that, why shouldn't Google make that possible?

    The netbook market is two markets squished into one. One is the cheap low power computer market (these things), and the other is the tiny market (something else). Windows is very heavy for just a little thing to surf. If you want a real laptop a tiny higher end netbook ($400-$500) is going to have the horsepower to be able to actually work well.

  • by Joseph Lam (61951) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:39PM (#30189600)

    If you want more than that you'd be better off with Ubuntu Netbook Remix or another mini Linux distro. I would have much preferred a stable Linux build of the Google Chrome browser.

    As you've already said there are better solutions for people who need more. Google is providing something optimized for those who DON'T need more.

  • Re:Dang! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Blakey Rat (99501) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:18PM (#30189852)

    Atom based netbooks are already too slow for anything *but* web surfing

    Ever actually use one?

    My Windows 7 netbook has no problem playing full-screen MP4 video, that's a bit more hardcore than web surfing. Of course, you can find websites now that do full-screen HD video, so I guess maybe that falls under the definition of "web surfing."

    Frankly, the Atom CPU is about 5 times faster than my first Windows XP PC. And I did a hell of a lot with that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 22, 2009 @12:03AM (#30190826)

    Until recently, along with your telescope, mount, tripod and imaging gear, as well as dew strips and controllers, you lugged a full-sized laptop out into the field, various USB hubs and cables, plus a power source for it (usually a big heavy auto-type battery and inverter), and a table or three on which to set it all up.

    The laptop had to be covered by a box or similar, unless you enjoyed draining the dew out of it the next morning, not to mention being sworn at by other amateur astronomers when the dazzling unshielded glare from your laptop screen blasted their night vision.

    Now you just slip your netbook into a jacket pocket. They are easily fast enough to run telescope control, planetarium and imaging apps, along with Photoshop or whatever else you may need or want to use.

    And soon astronomers may discover that even netbooks may be replaced by do-everything cellphones.

  • by Forcepath (851955) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @02:03AM (#30191348)

    Students? They wouldn't be caught dead with one of these. Too limited. Too ghetto :-) "Gee, to bad you couldn't afford a real computer."

    I wholeheartedly disagree. In my current non-tech classes, I see an average of 5 - 10 netbooks per class, and 1 - 2 notebooks. In tech classes the numbers tend to be more weighted towards notebooks, but regardless, I don't think they're considered ghetto at all by a vast majority of the populace. The netbook is an amazing piece of note-taking technology for the price (especially if you're a good typist). Maybe you wouldn't be caught dead with one, a lot of people (myself included) enjoy the possibility of 8 - 10 hours of battery life along with the ability to type notes and maybe even write a paper on the go when no other option is available.

  • by symbolset (646467) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @02:14AM (#30191406) Journal

    Tom,

    There have been some challenges in defining the differences, but Chrome OS is not an operating system. It's a distribution that includes the Linux operating system that adds its value in the user interface space. The underlying operating system is Linux. Chrome OS is a shell.

    Its scope is every environment the base OS applies to, and that's going to stretch from the firmware of your wireless router to the TOP500. Its target market is grandma, but it's open source to the point where builds are now available for every Virtual environment and we're not 48 hours in yet.

    In short by opposing something that's not yet defined, you're destroying your cred.

  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@ ... a - h u dson.com> on Sunday November 22, 2009 @03:01AM (#30191606) Journal

    The problem is that, as currently envisioned, it is totally locked down. If you red the articles out there, the bios does a check on the installed software at boot, and if its' been modded, the device is re-imaged. Its been 3 years in the making and its going to be as bad a failure as the Walmart gOS computer was. People want their computer to be "their" computer. Not Bill Gates computer. Not Google's computer.

    A "real netbook" (not some locked down piece of shit) is $250, no special deal, no 1-day promotion, no mnimum quantities, no locked-down-can't-install-adblock-or-any-non-web-app crap.

    Let's take a riff from the Droid commercial.

    Proposed ChromeOS netbook:
    Adblock? iDon't!
    Non-browser apps? iDon't!
    Alternate operating systems? iDon't!
    Free as in libre? iDon't!
    Printer support? iDon't!

    They've admitted that printer driver support is going to be a big problem, because of the inability to mod the OS image to accommodate the individual users printer, so you're looking at a limited subset of printers being supported, and even then, not all the functionality in each model. Even a $250 Windows netbook is better. And that's scary.

    And like I said, it hasn't been just 48 hours - it's been 3 years. The market has changed a lot in those 3 years. $1,000 laptops have morphed into $250 netbooks. $100 iPhones. Nobody needs a thin client in the home, and there are better solutions for business.

    The only cred that's in danger of being destroyed here is Googles. They've announced a product that has no market, a solution with no problem. They should have just quietly let it die of attrition, or morphed it into something else - like a REAL distro - but we already have enough of them, so that wouldn't work. It would be really funny if Microsoft steals a page from their book and announces a Windows shell for linux the same week they go to market. The worst part - it's VERY doable, and it would be extremely disruptive. Seeing the timing of Google's announcement, there's at least a small chance that someone in Redmond is thinking just that, because if there's one thing Microsoft is known for, its brutal marketing. And that would be brutal.

  • by rshimizu12 (668412) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @04:57AM (#30191966)
    Google states that Chrome OS will run only web apps and is designed primarily for Netbooks. So this means that wireless access must be available for free or at little cost everywhere. Now consider that Google is coming with it's own phone soon. So since Google owns a lot of dark fiber, perhaps they will trade network access with the cell phone companies.
  • by dotwhynot (938895) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @06:22AM (#30192220)

    Ah, but you can dump your Excel for something cloud-based that will likely look nearly exactly like Excel, function nearly the same way, and read Excel files. Add that to the boot and app launch times, and you have a serious competitor for the specific segment of hardware that Google is aiming for.

    The problem with Excel is that people who are not familiar with how many corporations use Excel tend to understimate what people do with it. These days it's a platform as much as a spreadsheet application. I routinely need to use Excel sheets that do complex scripting and live data lookups and inputs to other sources. I've tried some of these in the so called compatible alternatives, and they fail so miserably it isn't even funny.

    And no, such use is not limited to a handful of people in the finance department, a very significant number of normal business roles in the org use them as part of running the business.

  • Re:"instant on" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by strikethree (811449) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @07:35AM (#30192422) Journal

    You know, my first thought when I read "seven seconds is too long" was "you've got to be kidding"

    Well, I would say that they are NOT kidding. To be honest, I am getting quite weary of buying upgraded processors and more RAM so I can finally, at last, get instant response... and what happens? Some jackass comes along and says, "programmer time is more important than CPU time. Let's use layers and layers of crap to reduce programmer time. Nobody will ever notice since CPUs will always become faster to hide the slowness."

    Well, you know what? Screw you. I am wasting some mod points to respond to this, but yeah. Your mail server should have responded within a second. In a LAN, if a packet takes more than 10 milliseconds to get there, your network is poor. Your CPU should have been able to handle the network packets, decoded the IMAP request, etc within 40 milliseconds. Seriously, a millisecond is a HUGE amount of time for a modern CPU. So, we have 60 milliseconds total in which your mail server should have responded. Why didn't it?

    strike

  • Re:Dang! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 3vi1 (544505) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @11:39AM (#30193686) Homepage Journal

    I think you're confusing what BOOTP actually does and who provides it. It could be used to perform the first step - return the location of a boot image while you're acquiring an address, but it's been replaced by DHCP (which can do the same thing for providing the image's location) in the modern world. You can't really use BOOTP/DHCP servers outside your network, unless you want to partner with them to give Google complete control over your address space and configure helper-addresses pointing to their DHCP servers.

    You *could* point your own DHCP server's NetBoot/PXE/RIPL options to some Google provided TFTP (or other) server, though - if they wanted to offer this service.

    But, as you already pointed out: you would be downloading a large amount of potentially static data every time, and that makes no sense in a world where storage is compact and dirt cheap and ISPs moan about bandwidth usage.

    This would also be useless for mobile devices - unless you like downloading trojaned images from random wifi spots (or they expand the protocols to allow you to check that the image is signed with a specific, locally stored, cert).

    Put the image on your own server on a LAN if you want to do this - it'll be much faster and you'll have more control to regress if newer images fail for your hardware.

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