Monday, July 1, 2013

Will Google Launch a PC Operating System?

by Dietrich Schmitz

Don't kid yourself.

If you really think about it, Google can do most anything they want, right?

After all, they are flush with cash to invest and they have shown themselves to be shrewd investors, taking Android as just one example.  That yielded a huge return on investment.

But looking at things from another perspective, Google has risen to the challenge and shown themselves to be as good as Microsoft in pure software innovation.

Google Apps for Business?  Google Apps Engine?  ChromeOS?

And they've shown themselves quite capable of putting together solid OEM agreements and the OEMs are as happy as pigs in $hit--that includes both Android and ChromeOS.

Add to that the newest enhancements put into the Linux kernel which make ChromeOS all the more compatible with internal and external hardware and you see where this is going.

And the most recent announcement for ChromeOS Packaged Apps has just surfaced in May.

It may very well be that Google have designs on packaging up ChromeOS for general retail sale.

Is that so far-fetched an idea?  Not really.  Allow me to explain.

When you come right down to it, there may be millions of users now who understand the perceived risks of using legacy (x86) Windows to do anything on the Internet.  The reputation of Microsoft Windows and its woeful lack of security are sounding like a bell (Stuxnet, spambots, trojans, etc.) and the strata of individuals who are 'experienced' with several years of using Windows surely have an inkling that there might be a problem.

This year's Pwn2Own 2013 showed just how easy it was for hackers to compromise Windows legacy (x86).

And conversely, at the same convention in another hall, the Pwnium 2013 was held with zero contestants being able to fully compromise ChromeOS.  (There was a partially successful attack which was given credit by Google, but not an exploit which took administrative control of the operating system.)

So we have here one operating system, Windows, albeit popular but carries with its use an attendant  high risk of infection and the other, ChromeOS, is for all intents and purposes a veritable impenetrable security fortress.

Add in the ability to install packaged apps, a new forked WebKit, called Blink, and the just announced ability of ChromeOS to edit native Microsoft Office Word and Excel documents (QuickOffice required and DevChannel only).

What do you think would happen if suddenly one day there was an announcement for ChromeOS retail, an ISO download away and with nice point of sale at Walmart, Best Buy, Staples?

I think it would sell like hot cakes.  (Cough) Hit? ;)

-- Dietrich
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