Guest writer Daniel Cawrey bypasses all the hype, and analyses the issues that may impact Google’s decision to enter the operating system market. See if you agree with Daniel’s conclusions.
It’s been in the news the past couple of days that several companies have now filed antitrust complaints against Google. Some of the complaints have been generated by Microsoft, which has had its own legal issues with the recent European Union browser antitrust case that has forced those who have Windows installed on their computers and use Internet Explorer to be educated that they have a choice in what browser to use.
Specifically, the complaints against Google mostly have to do with their search algorithms and how they allegedly hurt some sites more than others. Another issue is that is the subject of lawsuits is the dominance of Google in the search advertising market.
I find it hard to pin down how search can be an antitrust issue since there are competitors in the market – the problem is that they just aren’t as good. And in addressing the lawsuits from sites that have lost their rankings, whenever Google makes alterations to their algorithm it is a widespread change and cannot affect just a small handful of sites.
In terms of the advertising business, however, there is no direct competitor to Google – and now that Android is becoming so popular that may make them cautious about the different platforms that they have previously planned on competing in. But we shall see how these problems eventually shake out.
It is clear after seeing CEO Eric Schmidt’s address at the Mobile World Congress that Google has a keen interest in continuing to capture share in the portable device market with both Android and soon Chrome OS. But I wouldn’t anticipate them trying to target the desktop market as many think that they will. One of the reasons will no doubt be these ongoing antitrust problems and legal issues that arise as Google becomes more ubiquitous, but it also has to do with their core strategy and how they can best keep their revenue growing.
Targeting the desktop PCs goes against the grain of the free or almost free model that Google has built its business on. That’s because providing a complex desktop environment where you can install just about any application you want sounds like a nightmare to Google. Keep in mind the issues presented with the recent Nexus One mobile phone launch that was wrought with customer service problems. And that’s just a mobile phone.
There are always going to be people who need powerful desktop workstations, but it doesn’t fit with Google’s mission to insert itself into a market like that. Along with Mac and Windows platforms, there are also plenty of good Linux environments out there, so why try to reinvent the wheel?
The key element that has enticed Google to enter the operating system market is its aim specifically for the devices a step up from the most powerful mobile phones. These portable computers are commonly referred to as netbooks, tablets or smartbooks that run on smartphone-style ARM processors.
Plus, because this currently is a small market yet comes with tremendous upside, a large company like Google is actually able to dictate to hardware manufacturers specifications for future Chrome OS products such as powerful Nvidia chips, solid state hard drives and built-in 3G wireless capabilities to offer premium performance and optimum user experiences which is paramount to their strategy.
Besides, Google still has the Chrome browser. Let Microsoft and Apple deal with problems that don’t related to the web, just as long as Google has its own browser that provide unfettered, speedy access to all the services it provides, which will only continue to grow in the future.
Daniel Cawrey is a freelance writer and tech enthusiast, among other things. You can check out his latest musings in blog form at thechromesource, where he writes about Chrome browser, Chrome OS and just plain Google in general.