At the risk of linking to Nick Carr once too often, I'm going to offer some comments on his latest incisive post.
Microsoft has an opportunity to integrate the two OSes in a way that can put Google at a significant disadvantage. To put it another way, it has an opportunity to manage customers' transition from the computer OS to the Web OS in a way that furthers its own interests - and damages Google's.An excellent point, Nick. When I heard about Microsoft's increased capital expenditures, the idea of offering some easy transition from desktop to web OS hadn't really occurred to me. It's a fascinating idea, though, and one that their .NET development tools will help make even easier.
The funny thing is that I did think that perhaps Google was going to open up their server farms to outside software. Last fall, when Google announced their partnership with Sun, I posited that with Google's distributed OS (and ginormous server farm) and Sun's utility computing experience, they may be creating the world's largest grid-for-hire; I noted that one inconvenience was "you're going to have to rewrite your code to run on a different OS."
In an earlier post, I noted that "For an enterprise distributed computing system, enterprises want an OS that is deployed within their enterprise. They want an OS that they develop on all the time."
As Carr points out, Microsoft already has that advantage. They've also got 20 years of putting together world class development tools for that OS.
Carr asks the question
Google could, of course, try to counter Microsoft's advantage by offering its own computer OS - a version of Linux, for instance - but it's hard to imagine such a move succeeding. Would a critical mass of users really make the leap?Not only that, but does Google want to release GLinux? My comments from last September:
It would surprise me greatly to find out that Google has any interest in all at making an all-purpose operating system. One of the hardest things about making any public OS is the hundreds of thousands of drivers that have to be written to handle peripherals; does Google want to get in the business of making sure every printer on earth works with their OS?If Nick is right, and Microsoft will indeed be able to bridge "the two OSs," it will be a fascinating battle. Google may be forced to release an OS just to compete. And if that happens, sparks are really gonna fly.