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Special Edition: Google dumps Windows for internal use…

… for SECURITY reasons. :-)

(Note added June 12, 2010: If you are surprised that a company would drop Windows for security reasons, you just haven’t been paying attention.) (Note added June 15, 2010: Yesterday, I read something REALLY surprising to me :-)the U.S. Air Force uses Windows! Hopefully, we in the U.S. do a better job of shielding our stuff from Windows worms than the French did, when several French Rafale fighter planes were grounded by the Conficker Worm.)

The Financial Times, Reuters, and others reported today that Google is phasing out the use of Windows internally because of security concerns, according to several Google employees.

The move to other operating systems began in January after Google was one of the 34 Silicon Valley companies that were hacked by an attack that originated in China. Google employs more than 10,000 people all over the world.

In early January, some new hires were still allowed to install Windows on their laptops, but not on their desktop, machines. Now, new hires can choose from Macintosh or Linux operating systems. All three of the sources linked above agree that getting Windows installed on a machine at Google now requires CIO (Chief Information Officer) approval. According to the Google employees, many employees had been moving to Macintosh for security reasons for some time.

When I worked at Sun Microsystems, Windows XP machines were not allowed to connect to Sun’s network (Note added June 12, 2010: …for SECURITY reasons) unless certain functions had been disabled with a program called “XP Neuter.” Another company that I worked for had STANDARDIZED on XP! :-) (Note added June 12, 2010: Well, they specialized in SECURITY, so they had a lot of customers who ran Windows. :-) )

Business Insider suggests that the Google infrastructure move means that 20,000+ Windows licenses will not be renewed or upgraded.

Although Ubuntu Linux (and Google’s Chrome) will run on existing machines, MacOS X would mean the purchase of boatloads :-) of Macintoshes! Was this the reason behind the recent meeting of Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt, who have not been too cordial in public lately? :-)

The only downside that some of us can see is that MacOS may become the object of more computer attacks.

Google’s action might be the beginning of a cleaner, more wholesome world! :-)

(Are they dancing in Mountain View, yet? How about in Cupertino…?) :-) I am rolling up the rug in my living room!

(Note added June 5, 2010: It would be helpful to other large corporations if Google were to publish figures on the maintenance costs of running a mixed environment of Macintosh and Linux for desktop and laptop machines. I STRONGLY SUSPECT that the maintenance costs may be LESS than those of a mixed environment that includes Windows, and even less than maintaining a homogeneous Windows environment. Google may be able to have a much more secure environment at a lower cost.)

-Bill at

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