Google and Microsoft take each other on mutuallyTwo information technology leaders - Google and Microsoft - are attacking each other’s strongholds. Google is challenging Microsoft in the PC operating system market, where Microsoft’s Windows has dominated, while Microsoft is confronting Google in the mobile OS market.
Google made the first move by introducing its Chromebook notebook computer equipped with Google’s OS Chrome last year. Last month, it
launched the desktop PC Chromebox as well as the new Chromebook. Both Chromebook and Chromebox are produced by Samsung Electronics.
Chromebox will be released at the end of this month at the earliest.
MS Windows 8
In response, Microsoft is going to release Windows 8 this fall, a new version of the Windows OS that can be used with mobile devices.
Microsoft is busy testing Windows 8 before its fall release. The biggest strength of Windows 8 is the public’s familiarity with the operating system. Windows accounts for 97 percent of Korea’s OS market.
The most notable characteristic of Windows 8 is its extendibility. It can be used in various devices such as tablet PCs. Microsoft said Windows 8 is not just an upgrade of Windows 7 but will change the way a computer is used.
The previous versions of Windows focused on the use of keyboard and mouse but Windows 8 allows users to manipulate PCs by touch. With Windows 8, it becomes possible to operate Microsoft Word and Excel in mobile devices, which was difficult in the past. Windows 8 also has access to app stores at anytime; in the past it was only possible with mobile devices. Since more than one billion users use Windows, the size of the potential market is enormous.
However, there are barriers for Windows 8 to overcome. It needs to fight the mobile OS market’s two dominant leaders - Google Androida nd Apple iOS.
Google said since 59 percent of mobile phone users in the world use Android-based systems, Microsoft is taking a baby step.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said Windows 8 does not optimize the strengths of both PCs and mobile devices.
Google enters PCs
Although we like to call this the mobile age, PCs are still at the center of information technology. According to International Data Corp. (IDC), a market research and analysis firm, global PC sales including both notebooks and desktops amount to 352 million units a year. Although tablet PCs have made strides in the last few years, annual tablet PC sales are only 118.9 million units. Microsoft Windows still is a dominant force in the PC market and 88 percent of the PCs in the world are equipped with it.
Today, Google Chrome’s presence in the market is trivial. The new Chromebook introduced last month is expected to sell 300,000 units this year. This accounts for only 0.1 percent of the PC market.
Google said, however, even if it starts small, it will eventually catch up with Windows.
Google’s confidence stems from its Chrome Internet browser, which was released in December 2008. The Chrome browser is quickly taking away market share from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which once dominated the market.
The Chrome browser’s market share was 32.4 percent last month, slightly ahead of Internet Explorer’s 32.1 percent. Google believes that as the Chrome browser was well received by PC users, the Chrome OS will have just as much potential.
“In the past, software, music and video content were stored in PC hard disks and thus strong hardware and operating systems like Windows were necessary,” said Jeong-Kim Kyungsook, Managing Director. “But now almost everything can be processed on the Internet and, like Chrome OS, operating systems that are based on Internet browsers and have multimedia and office software functions can also be successful.”
By Lee Soo-ki [email@example.com]