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While we all know a wounded animal when cornered will bear its teeth, Microsoft is currently feeling the pinch with the less than lukewarm reception not only for Windows 8 but for Office 2013 as well. While its doing great things in its online space with Azure, Outlook.com, Office 365 and Skydrive none of these are quite as lucrative as the desktop market. A market it seems Google wants a piece of.
With a change at the top of the Android tree over at Google the new head Sundar Pichai has a solid background in the Google Chrome team and even today has been quoted form the D10 conference last year on the verge website as saying
“For users, [the separation] makes sense,” Pichai said at the D10 conference last year, but “there will be convergence over time.” Very few companies have successfully developed two (or more) operating systems side-by-side, so taking any opportunity to converge them makes sense.
So can Google make a go of this? Well as the Verge article points out Android hasn’t really managed to get into the bigger screen tablets and ChromeOS isn’t filling the need for desktop users because there is still a need for Apps on a desktop. a good example of this is a recent observation by both Jeff Jarvis on twitter and a work college both looking to use Skype, no web interface (yet) so not too ChromeOS friendly.
A convergence of desktops porting the Apps, touch and store of Android into a ChromeOS desktop coupled with the branding of Google does sound like a very sound option. As a ChromeOS user there are times I would like to have a few native apps like Skype however 90% of what I do is browser based so the core OS in its simplicity, low overhead is fine for most things.
With big names like Google looking to take a chunk out of Microsofts lucrative desktop OS market there is the potential that other operating systems can also if managed well can do the same. Ubuntu is one such OS which is daring to step where other Linux distros fear to walk.
Historically Linux has been well placed to do what Google may be able to, Windows Vista was even less widely loved or accepted than Windows 8 however the Linux community just couldn’t gain enough traction to get the message out there it was a viable alternative.
However the computer industry has changed a lot since Vista, consumers are more aware of “other” platforms and operating systems. The cloud has grown up, web apps are more abundant and we are more accepting of our phones and tablets being our core on the go computing devices.
There hasn’t been a better time for the convergence of both of Googles operating systems to provide a single coherent commercially viable OS. However Google have a way to go to conquer the corporate desktop. Security, enterprise and delivery are just not close enough to being ready for that.