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Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
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7/21/2009
09:27 AM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
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Will Employees Demand Google Chrome OS?

There's a feeling when walking into a store that caters to your passion-for a clothes horse in Nordstrom, a deer hunter in Cabela's, or a foodie in Trader Joe's. You feel like the place was made for you. That's the emotion Google Chrome OS will have to trigger to get into businesses.

There's a feeling when walking into a store that caters to your passion-for a clothes horse in Nordstrom, a deer hunter in Cabela's, or a foodie in Trader Joe's. You feel like the place was made for you. That's the emotion Google Chrome OS will have to trigger to get into businesses.Google, for all its Web cred, is hit-and-miss on sparking that passion for its Web apps. Its search page does to near perfection. With Google Docs, though it gets the job done, I feel like I'm only there because my favorite place was closed. All this matters to business IT, which is why we devote our cover story package ("Why Business IT Shouldn't Shrug Off Chrome OS") to a hard look at the impact Chrome OS will have on corporate computing. Writes Andrew Conry-Murray:

While it's true the Web disrupts the way applications are delivered and consumed in the enterprise, old-guard software providers--from Microsoft to Oracle to SAP--are adapting to that reality. So are CIOs, who are accepting SaaS as an option for more applications and for a larger share of their IT infrastructure. However, Google seems to be equating the Web's power to transform applications with the need for a cloud operating system like Chrome. IT executives aren't buying it.

However, while IT leaders will help shape the role of Web apps on employee PCs, they won't dictate it. If Google's idea for a cloud operating system captures that "this is my OS" feeling for Web users, there's almost no way to keep it out of a business. Think of instant messaging or Facebook, which have moved into businesses sometimes in direct conflict with company policy. The last gadget to capture this elusive must-have emotion was the iPhone, and we know how quickly IT teams were pushed to add support for that.

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