Google: We don't do Windows

May 31, 2010: 10:30 PM ET

Google is phasing out its use of Microsoft's Windows on desktops, citing security concerns stemming from the recent Chinese hacking incident

It must be nice to be a Google employee.  You get to work with the smartest engineers out there.  You get gourmet cafeteria food and all kinds of amenities.  But best of all, you aren't given some generic, locked-down PC that you aren't familiar with.  You get to pick what platform you want to be on:  Mac, Windows, or Linux.

Well, you were able to pick Windows, but now that option is off the table according to a story today from the Financial Times.

They get quotes from a number of employees who say the reasoning behind the move is security-related and specifically a result of the recent Chinese hacking incident...

  • "We're not doing any more Windows. It is a security effort"
  • "Many people have been moved away from [Windows] PCs, mostly towards Mac OS, following the China hacking attacks"
  • "Particularly since the China scare, a lot of people here are using Macs for security"

The recent Chinese hacking of Google was done through Microsoft (MSFT) Windows computers on the Google's (GOOG) corporate network.

Windows is technically still an option, but you need to have some seriously good reasons to have it on your desktop.  Those reasons need to be justified to the office of Google's CIO and approved.  Otherwise, it is a Mac or a Linux box.

I'd imagine that some IE browser testing machines would need to be running Windows.  Also, people developing Outlook migration tools for Google Apps and developers of Windows software like Google Earth and SketchUp will need the operating system.

Obviously, Google would eventually love it if its employees used its own Linux-based desktop OS product, ChromeOS, as soon as its is ready for prime time.  For now, though, Apple's (AAPL) Macs and, to a lesser extent, Linux are the answer.

But ChromeOS is the future and it seems pretty apparent that Google is heading in that direction.  A few more Googler quotes:

  • "Before the security, there was a directive by the company to try to run things on Google products.  It was a long time coming."
  • "A lot of it is an effort to run things on Google product," the employee said. "They want to run things on Chrome."
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About This Author
Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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