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Google's New Operating System Threatens Major Market Changes

Google's "announcement" last night, posted on its blog, of a new open source operating system, is a major direct attack on Microsoft and another step in the shift from enterprise-centric to Cloud Computing. Nine months after Google launched Google Chrome comes the announcement of "a new project that's a natural extension of Google Chrome--the Google Chrome Operating System."The Google Chrome O/S software architecture runs a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. According to the Google blog entry "[F]or application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform." It is being designed for all types of computers, netbooks to full-size desktop systems. Google took care to note that it is being developed separate from Android, the operating system for handheld mobile communications devices, saying that although there "are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google."

The new operating system closely follows updates to Google Voice and the announcement of Google Wave (a real-time unified communications solution) at its May I/O 2009 developer conference as the company gradually positions itself to be the primary computing and communications solution for web-users. Google sees its Web-based offerings as the natural evolutionary step beyond desktop and LAN-based computing and communications, dominated during the past two decades by Microsoft and Cisco systems. The leading software developer and network supplier both need to take the Google threat seriously. Traditional communications system suppliers also need to worry as their enterprise-based solutions may become obsolete in the not too distant future. As the computing and communications market continues to evolve and mature, the number of strategic systems solution competitors will contract, leaving only a few players of any significance. Google's attempt to simplify the computing and communications experience may also greatly simplify the make-up of the supplier pool.