More On An Internet-Based OS

Recent articles on the race to develop an internet-based operating system sparked a debate between Ben, who thinks it’s inevitable, and Eric, who thinks there are major obstacles in the way.

This morning, I pass along the latest from Eric. It comes in response to Ben’s points made last Thursday. You can follow the whole thread here.

Security
Ben mentions banks having your social security number and financial information on file. Yes, that is what banks do. They not only have your social security number, but also your life savings in their hands. Luckily for us, banks are designed to be a safe house for such information. Their entire business operation is built upon protecting data, through layers of security. I’m not just talking about internet security, but also information management security. Banks are also FDIC insured for $100k. Will Google go to the same measures to provide the same type of security? Will they pay you $100k if they lose your data?

Data sensitivity extends past your personal information. Corporations and businesses have proprietary information that is worth millions, if not billions of dollars. I doubt GM executives are willing to store concept information pertaining to their next “big thing” on Google servers. The Department of Defense, one of Microsoft’s biggest customers, will not store their classified information on Google servers.

Connectivity
Broadband access in the world has grown exponentially. The United States can proudly say most of their hotels provide internet access. But that isn’t necessarily the case in other countries. Even if broadband is available, are you willing to pay $15/hr do work on your laptop at the airport?

Free OS
I state again: Nothing in this world is free. Wikipedia and online tech support boards are text based resources. Microsoft spends billions of dollars developing, testing, and maintaining their OS. The amount of dollars required to update patches, fix bugs, update drivers (just to name a few) will not be fulfilled by donations. Linux has been an open-source for years. Have you tried downloading Linux source-code from the internet? There is a reason why Linux companies like Red Hat exist.

Though Ben’s arguments are logical, they represent the world of your teenage internet user. The reality is, what he disparages as “the average 40-55-year-old adult” is the group in position to make the decisions on where to spend IT funds. If you can’t convince these hard headed people who just don’t understand the miracles of technology, then there will not be an internet-based OS market, which means disappointing stock prices, and stock prices are what we care about here at The Kelly Letter.

If you have any insight into the development of an internet-based operating system alternative to Windows and the Mac, please pass it along to me.

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