Google will release its Chrome OS - initially to just laptop users - in Q4 InfoWorld reported today. This announcement comes on the heels of rumors that Google is ditching Windows internally. Some are speculating that Google is making room for Chrome OS in its workplace, and may be aiming to compete with Windows in the enterprise.
The Financial Times reported yesterday - citing unnamed Google employees - that Google is offering new employees the choice of using Macintosh or Linux computers, but not Windows. It quoted an employee who said that getting a Windows computer now requires CIO approval. The employee cited security concerns following the cyber attack on Google last year.
Microsoft responded to the The Financial Times story via its Windows team blog, citing many the company's many security improvements in recent years.
The Financial Times also quoted an employee who suggests the move is an attempt to make room for internal use of the forthcoming Chrome OS.
InfoWorld ran a story consulting several security experts who believe security is not the motivator for Google's move away from Windows. In a follow-up, InfoWorld quotes Andrew Storms, the director of security operations at nCircle Security, as suggests that Google's move away from Windows is a PR stunt.
Storms points out that as Google continues its move to the cloud - Google uses Google Docs and Microsoft Office internally - it doesn't need a traditional desktop operating system and the associated costs: licensing, virus protection, etc.
Global CIO blogger Bob Evans recently drew attention to the fact that 5,000 IBM workers use Macs, and to IBM CIO Pat Toole's position that enterprises should move away from standardized computing in favor of letting individual users pick what works best for them. As enterprises rely more and more on browser-based services, the underlying operating system matters less and less.
Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie recently reiterated that services will play a growing role in the company's future, so even if enterprises ditch Windows for Chrome or other OSes, Microsoft will likely remain a player. Microsoft has its own minimal, browser-based operating system called Gazelle in the works.
Chrome screenshot via Wikipedia.