Google has two powerful arguments for software as a (Google) service: it may be cheaper than licensing Office, and less complex than running client/server in your office. Uncannily, that's the two things that helped swing the market Microsoft's way, too. Migrating to a GUI required more powerful and expensive PCs, but it would save large amounts in training costs.
Microsoft then played its ace: it began bundling a not-very-integrated "suite" of applications for around $500 - less than the price of dBase or 1-2-3, and that's before you'd bought the essentially companion software such as Clipper. In a recession, that started to look quite attractive.
Windows also offered a "cockroach" alternative to some of the grander vapourware designs on offer. Rather than wait for the Next Big Paradigm Shift (there were many of these vision-things being touted back in 1990, invariably including the words "Object" and "Architecture"), users smuggled in a copy of Windows for Workgroups and tried to get it running on the company network. Google services have the same appeal: people simply start using them.
So will Google succeed? Well, you tell me (below). But your 80s throwback will offer a couple of perspectives, that I've looked for this week, but failed to find.
Clever is not clairvoyant
One of these is that "the company that knows secrets about the future™" is a myth created by the press - particularly the glossy end of the US business press. It's a powerful narrative, and suits their lazy writers, but the reality turns out to be very different.
Years later, we discover the company was simply blundering on in a state of chaos, slapping tactics together until they passed for a strategy, and winging it. And so a consequence of this myth-making is that it makes the poster child - the Google or the Microsoft - look much cleverer and more coherent than it really is. It's an elaborate game of bluff.
At the time Windows offered business a cheap and cheerful "standard", but Microsoft's success was not based on technical excellence - on any unique knowledge of 32-bit computing or excellence in UI design - but rather more to its iron grip on the PC distribution channel. PC manufacturers paid Microsoft whether they shipped MS-DOS and Windows with the PC or not. So why ship anything else? Antipathy to IBM helped Microsoft enormously, too, of course.
But I simply don't see where Google has the same grip over routes to market that Microsoft could exploit. And while costs can certainly be lowered by throwing away all your useful software, I don't see that Microsoft generates the same animosity that IBM once did. I'm confident that we'll be using web services more, as they get richer and more functional.
I'll predict that Linux will thrive as a kind of bootloader on low-end PCs designed to use these services. And that Microsoft, as a result, will face continual margin pressure on Office and Windows in the years ahead. But I can't see either Microsoft, or the idea of local applications, fading very far from view.
While much of the press has creamed itself over Chrome this week, it's almost rude to point this next one out. When there's one computer serving the planet - even if it's Google's - that's a single point of failure.
And in that sense, Google's vision of computing looks less like a piece of risk insurance, than a very big risk indeed. ®
History shaped Google's Trojan Horse
One reason why Chrome might put Google over the top
I hate it, u hate it, why anyone puts up with it, I have no idea...
I'd rather use a browser based computer with google docs before I have to learn Vista and all it's quirks.
a Kernal, filesystem and a good browser will run 90% of the software that's coming down the pipe in the next 10 years. gOS might be just the ticket, with AIR or Chrome on top.
Cool, since I think web apps are hear to stay folks. Instant delivery of the latest version of the software makes web apps the way to go for most people.
"and you think windows is a buggy OS or harder to deploy than linux...geez you are in for a surprise when it comes to supporting it. and you should sysprep any pc your imaging or cloning if it is to go on An Active directory setup."
Linux to the desktop for the purpose of getting X working, and an RDesktop session out to their VMs requires *zero* maintenance. It's not a matter of "deploy." The machines boot a cut down version of Linux over the network, bring up a basic X Window and a few gubbins in the background like a clipboard, and present the user with an RDesktop interface to log into their VM.
*Poof* Linux thin clients that require zero maintenance, are completely disposable, and 100% interchangeable.
As to your "bash misconceptions on the head," well, maybe ask about things rather than make assumptions. If someone is so lazy as to baw about the pain of sysprepping a machine, what would ever make you think that thier version of "linux to the desktop" would be a "using linux to actually do anything beyond thin client?" Now this is an assumption on my part, however you seem to have a pretty low opinion of the intelligence or competance of people who don't share your views. For future reference: when a lazy sysadmin bitches about how much work something takes, his solution will tend to be something that requires LESS work, not more.
The only thing a sysadmin hates more than having to actually do work is having to do it twice because it wasn't done right the first time. Anyways, good luck with following the white papers to the letter.
Mine's the improvised coat made out of AOL CDs and duct tape, with the homemade wearable computer.
Ok lets bash a few misconceptions on the head.
you have got to be kidding right "Microsoft wasn't so brilliantly run, it just happened to be the survivor."
So your saying a company that controls the pc software market lions share, training , industry standards and drives how hardware manufacturers design their hardware, started of in a garage whooped the great IBM corporate monster in a licencing deal that will still be talked about 10000yrs.....was and is poorly run A company so big the most countries are scared of it never mind that they have wet dreams about Microsofts turnover!.
"In fact, in we are in the middle of a "Linux to the desktop" rollout "
and you think windows is a buggy OS or harder to deploy than linux...geez you are in for a surprise when it comes to supporting it. and you should sysprep any pc your imaging or cloning if it is to go on An Active directory setup.
it is ok nothing brillaint , same with gears..but it is just like all the other crap developers put out it is what they think the next big thing is , and as the internet has always proven it is never what they think it will be and always comes from indepent developers and is usually not designed for productivity or work rather content and recreation...MP3,facebook,myspace,skype,ebay,youtube of course the big boys like google snap them up but usually too late when the decline has already set in.
Oh, I understand the whole concept of "sysprepping a machine," and when needed to, I will. On many networks I manage, it's the only way to deal with these issues.
WSUS has absolutely no issues with machines ghosted or cloned without Sysprep, though I will be honest with you in that I have no idea how SMS interacts with machines in that situation.
My point was that hoops like sysprep are a pain in the ass. With VLKs I don't need to jump do that, I can simply clone or ghost as I require, and I make sure we keep within our allowed number of systems. (In fact, in we are in the middle of a "Linux to the desktop" rollout to reduce the number of licenses in use, as we are giving everyone an XP VM for whatever MS software they have to use. No sense in burning a license on the metal, too.)
I am sure that when working for Dell, and HP, and other large organizations, where you have the resources to waste manpower, things like sysprep aren’t a nuisance. But in the SME world, where a Sysadmin is Network Admin, Developper, Bench Tech, Project Manager, and a dozen other hats all at once…anything that reduces administrative overhead is dangerously attractive.
Now, I know that some geek somewhere is going to pop out of the woodwork and exclaim and proclaim why sysprepping or some other hoop is the single best way to do things, etc. etc. I'm not here to fight that battle. What I will say is that the ability to treat the software like a commodity, just like we do the hardware is vital when you can't afford to waste valuable (and expensive) admin time dealing with Microsoft's insecurity issues.
What makes Google’s bit so attractive is that it offers to remove that time wasting layer of bureaucracy. They take care of user portability by making everything run on their servers. If you can front a machine with an appropriate web browser, you are go.
To put it bluntly: every layer of effort between a ticket being raised for a repair (or a new deployment) and both the user being back online, and the offending hardware or software being put back into service costs companies money. Thus why I hate the Server 2008 ecosystem, and why Google’s growing online empire of doom looks so dangerously attractive.
For now, 2003 for me, until something better (read cheaper with the same or more functionality and ease of use and administration) comes along. Who's goign to win that one? Right now, I'm just not sure.
Freedom is slavery!
As a non-tech punter I love Chrome. It is fast, simple, efficient and clean. I have no issues with it whatsoever. Might I suggest the people who are having problems are the kind of people who stuff their computers full of third party shite and have five thousand browser extensions. No wonder they have problems.
Coming from Apple I appreciate being locked in and having little choice. It makes for an easier life. Hardware is consistent, softwares the same. It's fantastic.
I've only used widows for a few months and I must say it's a right pain in the arse. Virus protection, anti-spyware, firewalls coming out my ears. I can't be fucked with trying to keep up any longer. So I've given in. No more being anonymous, no more adblock, no-script, flash block, everything block-protect-defend.
From now on I'll use Google and they can have my history, cookies, web search. I don't care as long as I don't have to think about a hundred million things just to enjoy using my computer. I don't want to be a system administrator. I just want to edit my photos without having to be a certified ethical hacker. Is that too much too ask?