How absurd is it that Google has one massive team working on Chrome OS and another working on the Android OS?The teams don’t work together, and even people at Google feel like they are in competition.
If the idea is to let one of the systems prove they are a winner – then, well, that phase should be over.
Android is a winner. It’s arguably more popular than Apple’s iOS.
Yes, Microsoft and Apple both have two operating systems, but that’s because each have legacy businesses that are cash cows.
Google is starting for the first time, and it should probably double down on what’s proven to work – again, Android.
Brad Stone points out this ridiculousness in his big Google piece in BloombergBusinessWeek today.
To some, the Chrome OS project represents Google’s identity crisis—and the inability of its top decision-makers to marshal resources efficiently and kill redundant projects. After all, the company already has a successful operating system—Android—and the two projects don’t mesh. Andy Rubin’s software requires applications to be downloaded and run from a device’s local memory. Chrome, on the other hand, runs applications that sit in the cloud and use a new Web standard called HTML5. Rubin and Pichai “both have huge projects that are being propelled in part because Google values their talent,” says Danny Sullivan, editor of the blog Search Engine Land. “At this point, though, you’ve got to keep scratching your head. Why do they still have Chrome?”
Pichai sees no such conflict and says he’s not building software to suit the conventional wisdom. “Some things give you an easier way out of the door because you are doing something that fits into the hot category of the moment,” he says. “I want to know that we are building something that people will find useful.” While the upcoming range of tablets and set-top boxes all run Android, Pichai isn’t forfeiting that fight, either. “We are building a software layer which will work across every type of hardware over time,” he says.
That suggests Rubin and Pichai are direct competitors. Both of them insist, however, that while they are approaching the same problem with different visions, they share a “deep mutual respect,” as Pichai says. “I don’t think you can do things like this outside of Google,” he says.