ChromeOS: Initial Thoughts
July 11, 2009
UPDATED: I received quite a response to this article, and realize now that in fairness, I should probably soften it a bit. The title has changed, the DoJ image has been removed, and the text has been updated below.
Google argued against Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Yahoo on the grounds of anti-trust and monopolistic concerns. Quoting Google’s official blog post on the matter:
Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC? While the Internet rewards competitive innovation, Microsoft has frequently sought to establish proprietary monopolies — and then leverage its dominance into new, adjacent markets.
Remember, it was Microsoft’s bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows that ignited the US v. Microsoft anti-trust litigation–exclusively bundling their browser with their operating system. Is Google’s moral high ground eroding, by working themselves deeper into the OS layer?
Google is a very different company from Microsoft. It has a different history, different values. Google’s monopoly on the search engine market is more well deserved than Microsoft’s monopoly on the operating system market. Google Search is a damn good product, arguably the best out there. Vista, yeah, not so much. I absolutely respect these things about Google.
And I’m happy to use their products–Search, Maps, Earth, Blogger, Gmail, Calendar, Analytics, Custom Search Engines, etc. Note that all of these are closed source, them. I’m looking forward to the day when I’m using Google Open Source products…
I’m thrilled that ChromeOS will be Linux based. I hope that the rest of the operating system is open source software as well. Most importantly, I hope that there’s no vendor lock-in on the devices themselves. If I buy a device running ChromeOS, but want to change the software components or operating system (albeit voiding my warranty), I hope to have the ability to do so. If these devices end up being Google equivalents of iPhoness and Xboxes and Tivos, though, I don’t think the world has necessarily become a better place.
If you imagine an Internet search engine monopoly, coupled with a browser and OS, the wrong company may find themselves rubbing shoulders with:
I sincerely hope Google does not become that kind of company. I have put a lot of faith into Google and many of Google’s products. I really, genuinely hope that I can continue to trust Google and love their products.