Google dumps Windows for Mac OS and Linux

Google dumps Windows for Mac OS and Linux

Summary: Following security concerns, the search giant Google is phasing out the use of Windows, according to employees who spoke to FT.com.

SHARE:

Following security concerns, the search giant Google is phasing out the use of Windows, according to employees who spoke to FT.com.

The move away from Windows comes following the hack attack carried out against the company's China operation earlier this year.

“We’re not doing any more Windows. It is a security effort,” said one Google employee.

“Many people have been moved away from [Windows] PCs, mostly towards Mac OS, following the China hacking attacks,” said another.

New hires are given the choice of Apple's Mac OS X or Linux systems. Some of the new hires are being allowed to install Windows on their notebooks, while those wanting to stay on Windows on the desktop require senior level clearance.

Google refuses to comment on policy matters.

According to Google employees I've spoken to previously the company allowed employees to choose the OS best suited to their needs, so the banning of Windows came as a shock. That said, Mac OS X is a very popular OS within the company, and it's likely that many will make the shift from Windows to Apple's OS.

The question I'm pondering is this  - Is this move away from Windows one grounded in security, or is the whole thing a PR stunt, with Google using Microsoft as a scapegoat for the hack attack?

Seems to me that if Google really was still using IE6, it's in the company's best interests to shift the focus of blame off itself (because continuing too run IE6 was a monumentally boneheaded move) and onto Microsoft.

Google moving to a Linux-based internal OS has been on the cards for some time, according to my contacts. After all, so much of Google's business runs on open-source software that it doesn't make sense for the desktop OS to be proprietary ... so it might not be long till the company give Mac OS the boot too.

Wins for Apple (for now) and Linux, big loss for Microsoft.

Topics: Linux, Apple, Google, Hardware, Open Source, Operating Systems, Security, Software, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

31 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Google dumps Windows for Mac OS and Linux

    AKH reporting more anti-Microsoft spin. Lets put this in perspective, in other words, Google's security is so relax they don't know how to secure Microsoft Windows and need their hand held for them every step of the way. I give it 3 months before they come crawling back to using Microsoft Windows, their bread and butter platform for their apps. Without Windows, they are nothing and will not get the advertising revenue from those people who install their apps. Good luck Google, see you in 3 months.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Don't. Google needs nothing from you.

      @Loverock Davidson

      Keep your 3 months and give them to those who need it most, namely the windows phone 7 team, they sure could use an extra 3 month (and then an extra 3, and then more, and more...) to get rid of all the bugs that plague their wannabe OS.
      OS Reload
  • This isn't too intelligent on Google's part

    Firstly, they develop products for Windows and therefore some of their employees (a large number) would require Windows for development and testing purposes.

    Secondly, Mac OS X is easier to exploit than Windows. Seriously, Windows is an extremely secure operating system - the only difference is it has a high rate of attack. Most other operating systems would not stand up to similar attacks.

    Thirdly, Google is getting ready to release Chrome OS, so in light of this I'd definitely say marketing ploy.
    General C#
    • This is brilliant on Google's Part

      @General C# <br>I've heard the "security through obscurity" crap for years. Honestly, since there are so many Apple haters out there, why hasn't someone with hacking malware skills targeted OSX in the wild for props? Is it perhaps, more difficult than what most people believe? <br><br>I've been running OSX for over three years and have never had a virus. Now, I am one of those few Mac people that actually run anti-virus, Intego. I'm not saying it's impossible for Mac's to have security problems, same with Linux. But to say they are less secure than Windows? That's ridiculous. Stop parroting what you've heard from threatened little IT nerds that post on tech blogs trying to keep their jobs secure.
      Keith Porter
      • RE: Google dumps Windows for Mac OS and Linux

        @Keith Porter They are so much easier to exploit. They have almost no security measures at all. But nobody exploits them because if you infect 100% of Mac machines that isn't even as much as 2% of Windows machines. And since most Apple users have laptops, that doesn't help hackers either. Because when they are trying to build botnets they need servers and desktop machines that are always on. Laptops are of little use to them, unless they are only trying to steal information.

        The banning of windows is a dumb PR stunt by Google. One that does not make me very happy with them as a company. Windows suits most peoples needs just as well or better than the alternative OS. Especially better than that POS Chromium OS that they are going to start pushing soon.
        Jimster480
      • Yes, OSX is easier to exploit.

        @Keith Porter
        http://www.scribd.com/doc/13450744/Dino-Dai-Zovi-Mac-OS-Xploitation

        "Writing exploits for Vista is hard work. Writing exploits for OSX is fun."
        Lester Young
      • RE: Google dumps Windows for Mac OS and Linux

        @Jimster480

        "they need servers and desktop machines that are always on."

        So, there are a plenty Linux servers out there. More than Windows, if you count installed base rather than revenue. Practically every web hosting firm use Linux, most of them exclusively. Also Google use Linux on their servers. That is plenty of targets. And then there are Linux haters and Microsoft fanboys who would love to nail Linux for being "insecure".

        So, how come viruses are not problem for Linux? It is not obscure... it must be pretty damn secure.
        gnufreex
    • G's workers can run Windows on Mac, but ***not*** vise versa

      @General C#: and <b>no one</b> successfully exploited MacOS X yet. There is no way to actually get a virus or trojan there other than directly dowloading pirated software on a trash sites/torrents and then running those under administrator mode. And even when people get those problems that stupid way those virus/trojans were never able to spread further.
      DDERSSS
      • Some would disagree

        @denisrs
        [i]no one successfully exploited MacOS X yet[/i]

        The winners of the last 2 PWN2OWN contests respectfully disagree, having owned OS X in hours... no... wait... it was actually seconds!!! :)

        [i]G's workers can run Windows on Mac, but ***not*** vise versa[/i]

        Yeah, I do agree with this. I run Windows on a Mac. I tried OS X but it sucked way too much for me to consider using it daily. Ugh. So now I have great hardware + great OS, I'm happy!
        NonZealot
      • RE: Google dumps Windows for Mac OS and Linux

        @NonZealot

        I'm betting that Google isn't afraid that Charlie Miller is going to hack their copy of Safari.
        ashdude
    • They can always run windows on VirtualBox or VMWare on a server...

      @General C#

      and let developers write windows software on Linux clients.

      Google is full of clever people, I'm sure that's what they will be doing.
      OS Reload
    • RE: Google dumps Windows for Mac OS and Linux

      @General C#

      "Seriously, Windows is an extremely secure operating system"

      Sure. Oh, wait. Windows 7 went down at PWN2OWN 2010.

      So, it's more secure, it just fell to a targeted attack via IE8.

      Which is supposed to convince us that it's better than OSX, which ALSO fell to a targeted attack via Safari.

      Sorry. When Windows 7 sails through PWN2OWN 2017 I'll believe you.
      Jkirk3279
    • Oh my...

      Firstly... They dont develop product for windows...that is just bogus. They develop for a wider community that are not really OS specific. Programing is done a lot in Java, python, php, etc

      Secondly... Mac is not easier to exploit than MS. MS is the easiest to exploit. MS is not as secure as any other OS. Aggreed there is a high rate of attack. Most other operating systems can not be attacked like MS can.

      Thirdly... what is Chrome OS based on? MS? I think not...

      I rest my case
      Infrabyte
  • Surprising it took them so long

    The poor MCSE, commence chair throwing;-)
    Richard Flude
  • Writing on the Wall

    Folks,
    Most of you know how I feel about MS Windows.
    The level of risk in using Windows has become unacceptable.

    Please take the message regarding Google's decision to eliminate Windows from all internal use seriously.

    It is in your best interest to consider alternative Operating Systems.

    I personally endorse Linux, and specifically Ubuntu Linux.
    It is far superior to Apple OSX, doesn't require you to buy Apple hardware, and most of all is FREE.

    So, why not try Ubuntu Linux today?
    My comments here cannot be considered spam or 'off-topic'.

    If you need help or have questions about Ubuntu Linux, you can google to find my site. Just email or call and I'll try to help.

    Thank you.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
  • That isn't what I heard

    [i]said one Google employee.[/i]

    I heard from a Google employee that they were moving everything to Windows 7. Google is refusing to comment.

    See how easy it is to make stuff up without having to actually cite any sources!!! This is fun!
    NonZealot
    • RE: Google dumps Windows for Mac OS and Linux

      @NonZealot

      "See how easy it is to make stuff up without having to actually cite any sources!!! This is fun!"

      Yeah, but you do that every day, really.
      Jkirk3279
    • RE: That isn't what I heard

      @NonZealot That is a good point...
      Kwad_Kore
  • RE: Google dumps Windows for Mac OS and Linux

    Personally and professionally speaking, by Google annoncing this to FT was a very bad move if they are so concerned about security.

    The sad and sorry truth is, no matter what desktop or even server OS they choose, hackers CAN and WILL find a way to hack through if they really, truly, and desperately want to.

    The very best thing they could have done was to proceed and keep their mouths SHUT about it no matter what.

    And it will only be a matter of time (after its release) before the Boys and Girls at Black Hat will hack and crack ChromeOS like squirrels cracking and eating peanuts and acorns....No OS, Application, Web Browser, Smartphone, etc. is really safe anymore. Everyone really needs to practice safe computing-that's the real solution!

    Just my $0.02......
    MightyMikeLech
  • looks like insubstanciated FUD

    if you look at the security track record of MacOS VS windows you will see (and this is reported by Adrian as well) that Mac OS has had known Security holes gone unpatched for far longer than Windows.<br><br>MacOS has the advantage of being less used latform and therefore less appealing to attackers although I'm sre that if an effort was going on against Google, hackers would have no problem writing exploits for MacOS.<br><br>This seems a lot more like FUD than anything else. Furthermore the text on the article is pretty much hear-say as the Journalist heard from an Analyst COmpany who probably heard from Google.<br><br>No official source from Google cited here.<br><br>Now if they were to dump Windows for Linux exclusivelly, that I would understand perfectly. I wouldn't be surprised if they were pushing it to dogfood some internal distro or Linux implementation of their own.<br>THIS would make a LOT more sense.
    PedroRa