Ballmer believes that Microsoft has little to worry from Google's operating systems, and declares puzzlement at the offering of "two client operating systems."
Microsoft is decidedly unphased by the announcement of the Chrome operating system, with chief executive Steve Ballmer claiming that Google is making a big mistake.
In comments made at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference – and recorded by CNet
– Ballmer claimed to be confused as to “what the problem is over [at Google]
,” accusing the company of making the same mistake Microsoft made back in the early days of 32-bit Windows.
Claiming that Chrome and Android represented business and consumer operating system respectively Ballmer derided Google's plans, stating that “the last time I checked you don't need two client operating systems.
This is something that Microsoft has a certain amount of experience in: when first making the move to a 32-bit operating system, Microsoft had two separate business units: one developed the commercially-oriented Windows NT operating system; the other, the consumer-targeted Windows 95. Now, both the home and server editions of Windows share a common codebase – something which makes maintaining and improving the operating system much less of a headache.
While Ballmer has a point, it can be argued that Google's two operating systems are more like Windows Vista and Windows Mobile than NT and 95: despite various companies shoe-horning Android onto netbooks, it's an operating system that will always be more at home on small, low power devices like PDAs and smartphones; Chrome, by comparison, is a fully-fledged operating system more able to make use of the capabilities of a powerful PC.
One thing is for sure: Microsoft will be keeping a close eye on both Android and Chrome, with Ballmer describing Google's OS plans as “highly interesting [although] it won't happen for a year and a half.
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