Google Poses Ominous Threat to Microsoft - InformationWeek

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Commentary
6/1/2010
10:29 PM
Rajan Chandras
Rajan Chandras
Commentary
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Google Poses Ominous Threat to Microsoft

Shaken up by a Chinese hacking incident on its servers, Google is abandoning the use of Microsoft Windows, and moving to using Apple and Linux operating systems...

Google's latest move might appear innocuous and inward-facing, but it has the potential to be one of the most serious threats to Microsoft in recent years.

The news, first reported in the Financial Times and subsequently carried by Reuters and others, seems reasonable and free of any mischief: Shaken up by a Chinese hacking incident on its servers, Google is abandoning the use of Microsoft Windows, and moving to using Apple and Linux operating systems. Can Google -- and the rest of the world -- do without Microsoft?

When asked about it, Google dismissed any notion of controversy: "We're always working to improve the efficiency of our business, but we do not comment on specific operational matters."Improving operational efficiencies: Really?

Consider, for a moment, Google as a company. It has revenues of about $23 or $24 billion, employs some 20,000 people world-wide, and at last count, was ranked 117 on the US Fortune 500 list. Google is larger than Bristol-Myers Squibb, bigger than Nationwide, bigger than Amazon, bigger than Excelon.

Now consider that -- assuming we are collectively interpreting the news correctly -- this company is considering phasing out Windows altogether. No Windows on desktops; no Windows servers (Google has long abandoned this for its core search business, of course). Which means, no Windows software either -- no MS Office, no Visual Studio, no MS SQL Server, no SharePoint. "Getting a new Windows machine now requires CIO approval," said one employee.

Is it even possible for a large company to operate without any Microsoft technology?

That is the $64,000 question -- or rather, the $226 billion question (which is Microsoft's worth today).

The immediate follow-up question is: If Google can do it, can the world do without Microsoft?

Can we?Shaken up by a Chinese hacking incident on its servers, Google is abandoning the use of Microsoft Windows, and moving to using Apple and Linux operating systems...

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