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Report: Google to Dump Windows Internally Due to Security Concerns

Report: Google to Dump Windows Internally Due to Security Concerns

Jason Mick

June 01, 2010

Google is one of the most creative and powerful tech companies in the world, thus its actions are scrutinized at times.  However, it’s hard not to see a bit of significance in this one — Google is reportedly phasing out Windows due to security concerns.

News of the plan broke as Google remains reeling from a major intrusion by Chinese hackers which occurred using an unprotected flaw in Internet Explorer 6.  Back in early February, Google announced that it would be dropping dedicated support for Internet Explorer 6, leaving a fifth of customers on the market behind.

Now, according to an extensive story in the Financial Times, it’s carrying out a slow purge of Windows from its corporate IT infrastructure  Describes an employee, “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.”

Google employs over 10,000 people worldwide.  The company is reportedly now giving new hires an option of choosing between a Mac or a Linux box.  Most new employees at Google seem satisfied with this selection.  Comments one employee, “Linux is open source and we feel good about it.  Microsoft we don’t feel so good about.”

And why use Apple, a traditionally closed system?  This may stem from the fact that Google and Apple long enjoyed an overly close relationship until the smartphone war transformed the pair to become rivals.  Describes one employee, “Particularly since the China scare, a lot of people here are using Macs for security.”

Also, some Google employees apparently love their Macs.  Another employee chimed in, “It would have made more people upset if they banned Macs rather than Windows.”

Macs and Linux systems tend to be attacked far less than Windows systems.  That’s because the majority of malicious coders tend to target the biggest party — Windows — which holds approximately 90 percent of the market.  

Linux and Macs, while no more secure than Windows, in most cases don’t have enough market share to justify coding malware for them — thus most attacks on these platforms are essentially academic exercises.  Mac and Linux boxes are vulnerable to cross platform attacks in some cases, but the inability to install malware makes life more difficult for cybercriminals.

Apparently getting a Windows PC these days is almost as hard as getting in to Area 51 — “Getting a new Windows machine now requires CIO approval” claimed employees."

Google had previously made efforts to move employees voluntarily away from Windows towards Linux, the OS favored by Google.  States an employee, “Before the security, there was a directive by the company to try to run things on Google products.  [The Windows ban] was a long time coming.”

Google is increasingly looking to develop its own operating systems.  It currently is dominating the smart phone market with its rapidly growing Android OS, which is based on Linux.  And later this year it hopes to unleash a netbook/tablet operating system called Chrome OS onto the world.  Chrome OS is a rather unique Linux distribution whose functionality is entirely browser based.  All the apps on the tablet are web-based and functions like printing are accomplished via web drivers.

Microsoft has yet to comment on the rejection.

_© 2009, DailyTech.

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