May 11, 2011, 5:27 PM — Google co-founder Sergey Brin said Windows and other traditional PC operating systems are "torturing users" at Google's Chrome OS launch event Wednesday, where the company claimed 75% of business users can be converted from Windows to Chrome OS right away.
Google is partnering with Samsung and Acer to ship laptops based on Google's browser-turned-operating-system on June 15, it was announced at the Google I/O conference. In a briefing with reporters afterward, Brin was asked how many Google employees still use Windows. As a rough guess, he said it's about 20%. The rest must use Macs or Linux. But by next year, Brin hopes the vast majority of Googlers will be doing their work on Chrome OS.
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But Chrome OS, by putting most of a user's applications and data on the Web with some offline capabilities, presents a "stateless" model that Brin believes will eliminate complexity for users and IT departments by un-tethering people from machines that are difficult to set up and manage.
"With Microsoft, and other operating system vendors, I think the complexity of managing your computer is really torturing users," Brin said. "It's torturing everyone in this room. It's a flawed model fundamentally. Chromebooks are a new model that doesn't put the burden of managing the computer on yourself."
Google executives said they surveyed 400 companies and found that with a combination of Web applications, offline access to Google Docs and other services, and applications delivered through virtualization software, businesses could move 75% of their users onto Chrome OS devices.
Microsoft (and even Apple) could probably come up with a survey showing exactly the opposite. But Google does have an interesting plan to market Chrome OS devices, including partnerships with VMware and Citrix to deliver remote access to enterprise applications.