Why The Chrome OS Might Bite

Why The Chrome OS Might Bite
Google’s plans for its own operating system have gotten an enthusiastic response from tech afficianados, but there’s a definite downside to Google’s decision to move into the OS space.

Over at APC, I’ve outlined five reasons why Chrome OS is a bad idea. The one that perhaps deserves the most prominence is the fact that Linux-based OSes haven’t so far managed to attract support from either hardware vendors or buyers:

Even if you don’t want to modify the basic system components, you’ll probably want to connect your netbook to a USB broadband key or a printer. Getting those vendors on board won’t be easy even for Google . . . It’s also worth remembering that while netbooks can theoretically run anything, most everyday consumers seem happy for them just to run Windows. ASUS, for example, pioneered the whole market with the Linux-based Eee 701 model, but now only 5% of its models run on Linux.

Competition is good in most any space, but writing a death warrant for Microsoft based on a single blog post seems a little premature, to say the least.

5 reasons the Google Chrome OS is a f*#$ing bad idea [APC]


  • I don’t think anyone but the media has written a death warrant for MS. The reality is that market share generally takes time. The success of GC will be largely determined by Vendor support. If it’s a closed OS like OSX it might struggle but if the companies give it the support that MS gets it might be a contender. The APC article is of dubious quality to say the least and written without much reseach and a lot of bias.

    • /Seconded
      I am an early adopter.
      Not one of the friends I have encouraged to try Chrome has switched back, nor have I.

      Anecdotal true, but I suggest it is the other browsers which have some catching up to do.

      I am looking forward to more Android phones in Australia. Those available thus far don’t really appeal, but then nor does the iPhone range.

      I have a Linux netbook, I will certainly be giving GC a go. Writing it off many months before launch just seems foolish.

  • Well, mind getting some facts correct? Lets go over them shall we?

    5. The vast majority of Linux distro’s now days don’t require people to fiddle with drivers, they just work.

    4. Do you know how many manufacturers are currently making Android phones? There are quite a few. HTC was just the first partner to make them so they had the head start.

    3. Chrome is still very new, Firefox took quite a while to gain the share it currently has. Not to mention it DOES have printing support.

    2. If Google locks down the system so only Chrome can run, where is the risk?

    1. The iPhone is a very limited system, It can’t run Flash, it has a very low res screen. Basing a “fact” on a phone is just stupid.

    Wow, every single one wrong.

    • A couple of key things: (2) is hardly a refutation of the security point. If Google locks down the system to that level, no peripherals would work for a start. Ditto (1) — you’ve not remotely addressed the point I was actually making. And it doesn’t take much wandering around forums to demonstrate that (5) is far from true.

  • I think the Google’s idea to launch a Operating system is really not that bad .. Google is already ruling the search market with more than 60% and after releasing chrome browser ..it has got approximately 5% of browser market share .. though here Microsoft rules with Internet explorer at 62%. But I dnt think that it would be that easy for Google to grab Operating system market … as Microsoft is a software Gaint .. Microsoft is leading in operating systems with maximum shares. Soon it will be realesing its Windows 7.. it would be really difficult for Google to reach that height of success in Operating systems …..

    Daina Thomas

  • I’m interested in tinkering with a Chrome “OS” as much as every other geek – but i’m thinking it might be more of a curiousity than a long term platform switch for me.

    Firstly – compatibility is king. Not just in hardware either. If they’re running a linux base, I’m not likely to get decent support for any of the adobe software I use for work (yes, I could probably use wine, but that’s not good enough for premier pro or after effects. Maybe for photoshop).

    Secondly – I can’t understand why this is a better approach to a novel OS for a netbook than android. Which is, at this point in time, a more mature platform.

    I think a lot of the reason that Asus isn’t selling linux well, is because people enjoy familiarity. Windows is familiar. Linux just isn’t for most people and while Google’s OS might get some initial fans, I think there’s a big gap between this and any sort of reasonable mainstream adoption.

  • right now, only an OSX-based netbook could compete seriously with Windows, Linux is only a marginal alternative because of it’s cost advantage (niche customers aside).

    once the Google Android OS has made a name for itself with a mature OS platform — having the #1 search and map websites isn’t relevant to this, but Wave may be a great marketing tool — customers will be more than willing to flock it from Windows on their netbooks.

    I think what any new OS needs to compete are:
    * some key must-have exclusive applications (think iLife, Bento, Aperture — provide unique tools but don’t simply make up for shortcomings of the OS);
    * a broad base of quality apps (most likely this is why blackberry wasn’t been a huge hit outside the USA);
    * stability (a key area Microsoft gets by without but would provide a great advantage to other vendors), a Apple-style closed OS would probably help here;
    * easy-to-use, highly customisable interface;
    * low- or zero-licensing fees.

    BTW: cross-platform compatibility is a great idea, but no OS has succeeded with this holy grail thus far, I don’t think we’ll be seeing it in this IT generation or the next.

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