Browser as an OS: new trend or marketing fake?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 12:40 AM

by Kostia Khait

Do you monitor what Google does? Do you monitor what Google does as close as I do it? Couple years ago I considered that Google is only a company going the right technological way. At least having solid (although hidden...) roadmap I fully understand. Now it is not so clear for me. It looks like they lost their way after did an attempt to extend their business from Internet to in-PC world and... probably failed. At least they didn't get a market share comparable with what they have in online space. After that they become doing strange things, and I was unable to re-construct their strategy by what I saw.

Now these guys announced Google Chrome OS. And shortly after that Microsoft announced Gazelle browser as an OS. I was wondered. At the first moment I decided it is just a marketing trick. Google has no own OS (Android is just Linux clone and it seems failing as well...), but they want or at least wanted to be everywhere in computer world like Microsoft is. OS is mandatory for that, they can not create their own OS... The conclusion for experienced marketing strategist is obvious: let's rename something different to our own OS and capitalize our brand with this light fake.

However after Microsoft responded with Gazelle, I am not so sure in what I thought. Microsoft has its own OS, moreover their market share is huge. And they are not interested in support Google in their market tricks, they are hard competitors, even enemies. It seems what's easier than just say: "Guys, you see they try substitute real OS with just a phantom"! However Microsoft did vice versa, they practically confirmed: browser becomes an OS.

And... It might be they are correct. Current browser (regardless on which one) is looking as not just UI to see web pages, but first of all it is a kind of virtual machine to run online applications. If we assume, that most of applications may become online, browser really becomes an OS. Moreover, you even do not need any other OS than just browser. And it has much more convenience that traditional operating systems: applications are cross-platform, flexible, always on and always safe (I did not say "secure", right?).

However I feel some fake. And now I believe I know where is it. These guys still trying to push us to online with everything we do. It makes a lot of benefits for them: if we give them all our data and involve there resources to everything we do, they become the unrestricted owners on regular computer activities. They may just make money giving us their resources in rent, but they can also blackmail us, block our jobs, smoothly refocus us to what we didn't plan initially and control what we do. It might have some visible convenience, but I don't think IT-community will choose this way. People wants to remain independent. If I am right, they will fail another time with making browser an OS and people continue working offline with the most of their activities.

Otherwise they win. We lose.

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