Naked CIO: Why Google's OS is dead in the water

Techies and academics may be giddy but corporate users are left cold

Techies and academics may be giddy but corporate users are left cold

Do CIOs want or need another OS? And from Google? Naked CIO remains sceptical.

While I am no great fan of Microsoft or Apple - and have expressed rather opinionated views on the total cost of ownership of Linux environments - I have been recently perplexed by Google's decision to enter the operating system market.

While not a lot is known about the nature of the Chrome OS - it could very well just be a new form of Linux - I have given some thought to its practicality as a standalone OS in a corporate setting.

At this time much of my argument is speculation, but really, do we need yet another OS to worry about?

I am speaking purely from a CIO perspective where compatibility, reliability and usability are the three pillars of any stable and effective working environment in a corporate setting.

The technocratic elite can discuss the existential meanderings of what a new OS means from purely a technology view - and I am sure there will be those who will feel the need to further a purely academic view as well.

Essentially even though Vista has its problems, Apple is vogue but not very user friendly and Linux is imperfect in many ways, I cannot see how any respectable CIO would gladly pursue a Google-based OS in a corporate environment.

I realise Google is putting a great deal of money and effort into developing corporate alternatives to what has been the mainstay of corporate computing for some time and they will likely make inroads in this area.

However, OSes are a very different animal. Consider internal development, integrated applications, testing and vetting yet another OS and having all your proprietary vendors certify their software on this system. This will not happen - at least not in the next few years.

Google will likely go the route of Apple in that it will appeal to a select consumer base and then through trying to innovate grow that consumer base until these converts start to complain, beg and plead for a Google OS in the working environment.

This will take a decade and even then will never penetrate the market share of Windows. There are just too many variables that would need to be managed in organisations that are steadfast and anchored down.

The only way Google can be successful in the enterprise market is if they sell a full suite of OS and corporate applications. But even this will only be for a select group, considering the effort involved in internal software development and the size of many computing estates within large business.

Cloud computing might be an interesting model for many things Google does - but how will it work for an OS? I am still very sceptical of how Google can tie in a web-based model on computers that run mixed and multiple applications.

I know there are many that see this as a refreshing change to the stresses and challenges we have faced over the last decade. But while the idea might be great water-cooler chit-chat, the practicality of it having any impact on corporate IT within the next decade is very low.