Ballmer Questions Google Chrome OS

Blasé and confusing comments suggest the Microsoft CEO's curiosity is definitely peaked.

You wouldn’t have expected anything less, surely…?

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has come out and given Google Chrome OS the jabs we all expected.

“I will be respectful,” Ballmer explained at a Microsoft conference for technology partners in New Orleans that was live streamed over the Internet. “Who knows what this thing is? To me, the Chrome OS thing is highly interesting,” he said, his tone garnering several laughs from the crowd. “It won’t happen for a year and a half and they already announced an operating system (Android). I don’t know if they can’t make up their mind or what the problem is over there, but the last time I checked, you don’t need two client operating systems.”

Two points here:

1. Microsoft ”’has”’ two client operating systems: Windows for PCs, laptops and netbooks and Windows Mobile for handsets. Furthermore, Google rarely deals with ‘versions’ instead incrementally updating its products. With Google there would be ‘Windows’ not Windows 95, 97, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, etc etc so this seems a cheap shot. I could easily argue Microsoft has had double figures of client operating systems in the last ten years on the consumer side alone.

2. While specifics have yet to come out we do at least know “what this thing is”. It’s a Linux and browser based OS that aims to make itself as transparent as possible in order to embrace Cloud computing. Technology such as Google Gears will allow offline access to services such as Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs to emulate the primary benefits of the desktop experience. Hope that helps you out Steve?

In all seriousness, it is clear Microsoft knows its number one rival is Google and though Steve plays dumb here services such as {Windows Azure, Web Office and a potential Spotify rival show it has a strong grasp on the importance of Cloud computing. Perhaps more to the point, I’d suggest Microsoft’s primary concern is Chrome OS is attempting something it understands is inevitable but didn’t think would be relevant to the general public for a number of years.

Ballmer may well be right about this, but if he’s wrong expect the quips to end very quickly…

via Reuters

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links. Tell us what you think – email the Editor