10 Things Microsoft Can Do to Beat Chrome OS

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-11-25 Print this article Print

News Analysis: Chrome OS might be the latest big thing in cloud computing, but that doesn't mean it can't be thwarted before it is released and has a chance to become a widely proven success in the industry. Google won't release a production version of Chrome OS for months. This gives Microsoft plenty of time to develop technological and market strategies to counter Chrome OS' competitive challenge. Here are some of the basic strategies Microsoft needs to follow.

Now that Google has shown its Chrome OS hand, it has made it abundantly clear what it plans to do with its online operating system over the next year. For many, those plans are exciting. Chrome OS promises to offer some of the most unique services of any operating system on the market. It could also rival existing leaders from Microsoft and Apple, as well as Linux OSes.

But there is a chance that Chrome OS could lose its ability to capture significant market share at the hands of Microsoft. The software giant that currently controls the operating system market can't possibly be expected to roll over and allow Google to be the only company offering an online OS. It also can't be expected to allow Google, its main nemesis online, to capture any of its market share. Realizing that, Microsoft is likely to have a plan to beat Chrome OS. Let's take a look at what Microsoft can do to beat Google's operating system.

1. Keep working on Windows 7

Windows 7 is a fine operating system that many folks are quite happy with. But it's the single OS that Google is targeting with Chrome OS. Microsoft needs to work hard to improve Windows 7 as Google prepares its online OS. It also needs to ensure that it attracts as many customers as possible. The happier the customers, the less likely they will be to move to Chrome OS.

2. Embrace the Web

At the same time, Microsoft should embrace the fact that future is on the Internet. Although Office is a promising next step for Microsoft online, it needs to work hard on Windows Azure. By doing so, it can cut Google off as it attempts to be the only company in the space doing something unique online. It will also divide the market into those who want Google's OS and those who want Microsoft's.

3. Point out Chrome OS shortcomings

There's nothing quite like explaining the shortcomings of a particular operating system to illustrate why your own operating system is ideal. The strategy works. Just look at Apple's "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads for proof of that. If Microsoft wants to limit the impact Chrome OS will have on the market while working toward an eventual defeat of the online OS, it needs to start with some advertising.

4. Stay true to the enterprise

One of Chrome OS' major shortcomings is its lack of enterprise support. Say what you will about Windows, but the OS is perfect for the corporate world. If Microsoft wants to get in on the online-OS market, it needs to stay true to companies that don't want to be left behind. Google is leaving those companies behind. Microsoft can't.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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