Analysts Have Guarded Optimism About Unproven Chrome
Some enterprise computing businesses are taking notice of the opportunity. Google Chrome Vice President of Product Management Sundar Pichai said Google has fielded plenty of calls about Chrome OS from businesses mulling a future in the cloud. "We were positively surprised to the extent at which CIOs showed interest in Chrome OS," Pichai said. "We had a lot of incoming calls from CIOs."Citrix is making a bold bet on the unproven Chrome OS, planning to pair it with its desktop virtualization technology next year. Adobe said it is working to improve the video performance of Flash Player 10.1, which is integrated directly in Chrome OS machines."Chrome notebooks provide yet another opportunity for Adobe's 3 million Flash developers to deliver their rich, interactive content to end users," said Paul Betlem, Adobe's senior director of engineering. Google will have a lot of questions to answer about Chrome OS viability for the enterprise, said IDC analyst Al Hilwa. There will be concerns about security and reliability, issues CIOs have been able to mitigate with current on-premises software. "Large companies are still grappling with what it means to put data, applications and intellectual property on the cloud. Part of the answer will be, Whose cloud do you trust and what level of service are you likely to get?" Hilwa explained. "If Google is to have large companies put all their assets on the Google infrastructure, they have to assure them that they can protect these assets, keep them private, allow them to be easily extracted and migrated to other clouds or to on-premises infrastructure, and importantly to offer the high levels of service that large enterprises have become accustomed to from large software vendors." Jefferies' Squali sees other opportunities. If Google cultivates a culture of Chrome OS netbook users using, say 10 Google Web services, it will have far more information to learn about user behavior. This can improve Google's advertising opportunities, magnifying what Google does on its search engine, Squali believes. "The Chrome OS has the potential to grow usage as much as Android did across mobile platforms, but it is too early to tell how much of the home computing operating system market share dominated currently by Microsoft-and to a lesser extent Apple-it can truly capture," Squali concluded.