Google's plan to migrate away from Windows pretty much flew under the radar when it was announced last June, but the move could have far-reaching consequences for both companies. Citing Internet Explorer security vulnerabilities, any new Googler has the choice of an Apple or Linux OS, though they can still keep XP or Windows 7 on a laptop not connected to the network. Microsoft slammed Google for its reasoning, saying Windows is now more secure than Apple.
How well Google makes the transition to an Apple or Linux shop would be interesting. Migrating 10,000 PCs to a new OS - with new apps, minimal downtime and no data loss - is going to be a challenge. Not impossible, but if it's a seamless move, well, that would show a conspicuous chink in Microsoft's Enterprise armor.
Windows is everywhere in the enterprise, and Apple is only up marginally, from 3.7 to 4 percent. In the last year, half the respondents to a Case survey said they'd considered switching from Windows to a different OS, but that was during the Vista horror show. Windows 7 has sold better than its predecessors and Redmond seemed to have beaten back Linux for good. So who better than Google to stick its toes in this particular lake? If all goes well, many companies may use Google's playbook for their own transition. This is just act one.
-- Dino Londis