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Google tells staff to snub Windows after China hack snafu

Will boarding up windows make Chrome shine?

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Google employees are reportedly being told by their Mountain View overlords to dump Microsoft’s Windows because of security concerns about the operating system.

According to a report in today’s Financial Times, which cites several Google workers, the ad broker has been telling its staff to move away from the Windows OS since January this year.

That was the moment when Google was forced to admit that the Chinese wing of its operation was one of the 34 companies whose systems had been hacked in mid-December 2009.

“We’re not doing any more Windows. It is a security effort,” an unnamed Google employee told the FT.

“Many people have been moved away from [Windows] PCs, mostly towards Mac OS, following the China hacking attacks,” said another anonymous Googler, according to the newspaper report.

New recruits at Google, which hires around 10,000 people worldwide, are allegedly given the option of running Apple Macs or Linux-loaded computers, rather than a Windows-based PC.

Those employees who want to run Windows on their machines now need to seek out clearance from “quite senior levels”, reported the FT.

One Google worker also pointed out that Google was snubbing Windows in readiness for its own operating system - Chrome.

However, Google isn’t forcing its staff over to a Chrome-only environment yet and some told the newspaper that they were relieved to still be able to run Mac and Linux operating systems at the company.

Another Microsoft rival - IBM - made a similar shift from Redmondian software in June 2008 when it advised its 20,000-strong techies to ditch MS Office and use open standards software such as its own Lotus Symphony instead.

So it’s hardly surprising to see Google walk away from its competition’s operating system. In fact, some might wonder what took the company so long to turn its back on Microsoft.

We asked Google to corroborate the FT story, but at time of writing it hadn’t got back to us with comment.

Microsoft, for its part, didn't seem particularly stirred by Google's actions.

The software giant's top flack, Frank X Shaw, took to his Twitter account where he noted that "Google [was] going Google", before offering a few sarcastic observations about the FT story.

"news flash: Google boards up all windows in its global HQ, citing security concerns. Must credit FT," he chided. ®

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