Start-up Xcerion sees the Web as your OS

Sweden-based company plans to launch its Internet operating system for running ad-supported Web applications later this year.
Written by Martin LaMonica, Contributor
If Swedish entrepreneur Daniel Arthursson has his way, millions of people will be running their applications on an Internet operating system by the end of next year.

Arthursson is the CEO of Xcerion, a company that is building software that will let people run the equivalent of their desktop applications in a Web browser.

In a few months, the company expects to test its service to host these programs, which will be funded by advertising or a small annual subscription fee. Arthursson plans to have the system up and running in the third quarter of this year.

Earlier this year, the Sweden-based company landed $10 million in venture funding and said that a handful of former Microsoft Windows engineers and former Microsoft Chief Financial Officer John Connors were investors.

Several Web-based applications that are online alternatives to Microsoft Office and similar software already exist. But Xcerion, like a number of other companies, is trying to improve on existing desktop operating systems by taking them online.

In the case of Xcerion, users will be able to run several applications, such as a word processor or RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed reader, within a browser. The applications themselves can exchange information with each other and run both online and offline, Arthursson said.

For developers, Xcerion has created a visual application-creation tool meant to make application development much easier than traditional programming languages.

Arthursson started developing the product, called the Xcerion Internet OS, five years ago. He was motivated by the idea of making it easier to create collaborative Web applications.

Images: Making the desktop fit in a browser

"I was really driven by the challenge of what everyone thought was impossible. This is really a very large project to redo an operating system and development tools," he said. "But the more we got into the product, we saw that this really was possible and that nobody else was doing it."

The technology underpinning the Xcerion Internet OS is XML and Ajax. All applications are written using XML languages, and the operating system software, which runs and displays programs, was written using Ajax, Arthursson said.

The system includes a transaction manager, which allows applications to work offline and to retrieve lost information, he said. Most programs will run exclusively on the user's desktop, but collaborative applications will work in conjunction with Xcerion's servers.

The business plan calls for Xcerion to invite outside developers to create applications using its tool. The company will host those applications and give the majority of the advertising revenue to the authors, Arthursson said.

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