Much has been
written regarding Google’s latest challenge to
Microsoft–its announcement last week that it plans
to unveil a new operating system (OS) in the second
half of 2010.
There is no
question that Google’s ambitious plans can have a
significant impact on the computing world. And,
because computing has become an integral part of
everyone’s day-to-day world, the Google-Microsoft
war deserves plenty of attention, even in the
mainstream media and among Main Street businesses.
shouldn’t come as any surprise that Google would
move in this direction. It has been nibbling away at
the edges of Microsoft’s fortress for a number of
years. Google Desktop does a better job finding
files within Microsoft Office than Microsoft’s own
software. Gmail is easier to use than Outlook. And,
have become a viable alternative to Microsoft Office
within a growing number of businesses, non-profit
agencies and governmental institutions.
importantly, Google has been making a concerted
effort to penetrate the education sector in the same
way Apple did over the past three decades to win the
hearts and minds of a new generation of computer
users–college, high school and middle-school
students. Their teachers are even bringing Google
Apps into the classroom unilaterally to encourage
greater collaboration and make it easier to track
fact that many of these same kids grew up with
Microsoft Xbox, Microsoft has failed to convert
their affection for its games, which are
increasingly played online, into any real allegiance
to Microsoft’s Office or OS.
Microsoft has been obsessed with derailing Google’s
dominance in the search business, Google has been
equally focused on dislodging Microsoft from its OS
and office ‘productivity’ perch.
Microsoft now appears to be making some headway in
attacking Google’s core search business with its new
Bing search engine, Google figures the time is right
to ratchet up its efforts to attack Microsoft’s core
OS business as well.
week’s announcement, some analysts have questioned
whether the world needs another OS. Widespread
dissatisfaction with the costs, complexities and
security issues associated with Microsoft OS,
applications and Internet Explorer has left the door
wide open for a viable alternative to emerge.
commentators have questioned whether Google can
truly disrupt Microsoft’s monopoly. Industry
statistics already show a decline in Microsoft’s
market share as a result of greater acceptance of
Open Source Linux and Apple OS. Yet, neither can be
considered as potent a potential competitor as
decline in Microsoft’s quarterly revenues and
profits may be another indicator that customer
defections are on the rise, and the market shift
toward web-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and
cloud computing alternatives.
In the late
60’s, few people took Japanese cars or electronics
seriously. Today, American automakers are struggling
to survive, and there are no major American
electronics companies making their own equipment.
auto and electronics manufacturers outflanked their
American counterparts by producing simpler, more
reliable and less expensive products. They also
adopted more streamlined manufacturing,
distribution, marketing and sales operations. But,
most importantly they were willing to be patient,
establishing a ten-year plan to achieve their
long-term business objectives.
Google is also
promising to deliver a simpler, more reliable and
less expensive alternative. It has also put a
long-term plan in place. However, don’t be surprised
if it rolls out its new Chrome OS before the late
2010 due date.
I suspect that
many of the technical aspects of the new OS are
already being tested and could easily be delivered
before the second half of 2010. However, Google
knows that its biggest challenge isn’t perfecting
the technology; it is putting the right skills and
mechanisms in place to properly support corporate
will not migrate to a new OS until they are
convinced that the vendor is fully prepared to
support them. Google’s executives acknowledged that
they must do a better job of convincing customers
that they can support their needs by putting an end
to their “Beta” branding of their Google Apps.
Businesses don’t want their day-to-day operations to
depend on half-baked applications or operating
So, in the
end, Google’s success will depend on putting
together the right combination of technical and
organizational capabilities to satisfy corporate
customers. Google’s new OS doesn’t have to be more
sophisticated. It just has to work better.
After all, no
one ever accused Microsoft of having the best OS
either. It just happened to have the best business
model for the past thirty years.
But, the times
and customer requirements are changing.
world is giving way to an on-demand environment in
the ‘cloud’. Packaged applications and proprietary
systems are being replaced by Software-as-a-Service
(SaaS) and cloud computing alternatives.
As a result, a
changing of the guard is also likely.
article was adapted from the author’s blog on THINK
IT Services. Reprinted with the permission of the
Kaplan is the Founder of THINKstrategies a firm
which helps clients capitalize on the migration of
the technology industry from a product-centric to a
services-driven business model. Kaplan is also the
founder of the Managed Service Showplace and
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Showplace, the highest
ranked, vendor-independent, online directories and
best practice resource centers focused on SaaS and
managed services. He formerly served as VP of
Marketing and Business Development at InterOPS
Management Solutions, and was Director of Strategic
Marketing at International Network Services (INS)
which was acquired by Lucent Technologies. Jeff was
also a leading industry analyst at IDC, Dataquest
and META Group. Jeff is a frequent speaker at
industry conferences and contributing columnist for
BusinessWeek, Mass High Tech Journal, Financial
Times of London, NetworkWorld, Business
Communications Review, ComputerWorld, InfoWorld,
InformationWeek, Managing Automation, the Web
Hosting Industry Review and Services News on topics
including SaaS, cloud computing, managed services,
outsourcing, IT operations and service level
management (SLM). For article feedback, contact