Chrome OS: Why It Will Fail - Page 2

The Chrome OS, which basically is one of the best thin client concepts yet to hit the market, has a lot of potential.

 By Rob Enderle
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Latency and Mobility

There are a number of thin clients on the market, and while this market continues to grow compared even to Apple's market share, it is tiny. The reason is that they aren't mobile and require a focus on network latency that PCs don't require. In addition, users like to have a certain level of control that they simply don't offer. Take an application like Tweet Deck that many of us have become wedded to. That application will not work in an environment like the one Google imagines because it runs locally and appears to function even if the network connection is spotty.

Most networks experience bottlenecks a number of times a day. The one I'm on is not only massively asymmetrical when it comes to speed, but it tends to have serious problems several times a week. Browsing slows to a crawl, but I can still get work done. When you add to this the problems of a world that is highly mobile and revisit why Apple backed away from Web-based applications after the launch of the iPhone, you'd realize that Chrome OS will initially only be viable in a few places like Korea, which have the needed infrastructure initially. And even there, you'd want to make sure you didn't overset expectations and kill the effort.

Wrapping Up

Companies have a nasty habit of not learning from history, looking at a world that only exists in their own minds and building solutions that won't stand up to reality. Chrome OS does anticipate a likely future in which computer services are entirely hosted. But we started from such a world and had it been that great, we'd likely still be there. There is a reason we went to PCs in the first place, and if Google doesn't find a way to take all we have learned in the past 40 years and blend the advantages of a hosted solution with the needs that originally created the PC market, Chrome OS will fail.

Google feels itself largely invulnerable (it's not as today's news seems to indicate) and that it doesn't need to follow the footsteps of aging companies that came before. We all exist in a veritable minefield of mistakes made by others, and by not at least looking at these mistakes, it's assured of eventually stepping on a mine. Right now, Chrome OS appears to be on that path.

Google has a year to fix this and it still could, but if it doesn't -- and most companies don't -- act, the future of this effort, which has massive potential, will be disappointing. Very disappointing.

This article was originally published on Nov 23, 2009
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