It’s nice as an analyst when you make a significant call well ahead of the market that turns out to be spot-on. I had one of those with my report in February of 2008 entitled “Twitter: The Most Important Platform You’ve Never Heard Of.” As you might imagine, a year and a half ago the report generated some amount of scorn, even internally. Looks pretty good now, eh? I took great joy when the CEO of my former company actually signed up for his own Twitter account.
Well, nailed another one. 🙂 Google announced, via blog post, the Chrome operating system yesterday. In a research note dated September 6, 2008, at the introduction of the Chrome browser, here’s the beginning of what I had to say. (AMR clients can read the entire research note here.)
“Google introduced a “product” named Chrome this week. It is wrong to think of Chrome as a browser. It is really Google’s omni-client strategy, appearing here as a desktop rich internet application platform (RIAP), to complement Android, Google’s mobile version of the platform. This is a disruptive maneuver, presaging a serious Google effort to control more of the desktop environment and to strengthen and extend its position in the mobile and online/cloud environment. Enterprise ISVs and IT organizations have an intriguing platform to evaluate. In the short-term, however, shortcomings in the browser itself will limit Chrome’s impact.
There are really three ways to look at Google Chrome, in increasing order of interest:
- As a browser.
- As a platform for Google Apps.
- As Google’s omni-client platform strategy and a replacement for the Windows environment for desktop and mobile applications.”
Now, after the self-congratulatory blather, a few thoughts:
- The market is ready for a fundamental rethink of the notion of an operating system, designed around web-enablement.
- I’m not a big fan of “light” operating systems. There are reasons why the client operating system should be a rich environment for application developers and users. That said, designing it from the ground up to be web-aware is the right design criterion.
- Microsoft’s Windows 7 is the latest, and last, iteration of the client-centric operating system. You can expect Microsoft to talk a lot about Azure in response to this. How much more than talk they do is still an open question. Their near-term revenue opportunity is Windows 7 and thus their considerable focus and marketing effort will be on Windows 7. This gives Google considerable opportunity to demonstrate thought leadership and to deposition Microsoft’s cloud efforts.
The cloud era has officially begun.