The inevitible has finally happened. Determined to put Microsoft 6 feet under, the final nail in the coffin has been pulled out of the box by Google, but not yet driven in Microsoft’s casket with yesterday’s announcement of the Google Chrome-OS. A little over a month ago, Google announced Google Wave. This was a clear frontal attack on the to-date unassailable bastion of Microsoft’s stronghold – corporate messaging and shared calendaring aka the Exchange Server. The Exchange Server is the lynchpin of the MS desktop strategy.

Nothing works as well for group scheduling and communication. Thus, you need Exchange. Since you need Exchange, you need MS Outlook which really is the only thing that works with Exchange. Believe me, I have led teams to build a competing solution and the killer is that even if you can build a competing solution, you have to make it work with Exchange. And really, no MAPI plugin really works – even Apple had to license the Exchange connector for the iPhone. You just can break into that proprietary protocol any other way. 

So, With Google Wave, there will be finally an answer to Exchange. Then, you don’t need Outlook. Oh, I don’t need Outlook? Then – no need to buy Office. There’s already Google Docs that gets better and better all the time, and allow the kind of seamless sharing we working on at my last venture company. So, no Office required, and walaa – Microsoft is no longer printing money.

Not to worry, there’s the Windows operating system. Oops, better worry. Vista was and is an unmitigated disaster for MS – unreliable, incompatible, and a pain to use. Now, Google has announced they intend to extend linux, build on top a new windowing system targeted at netbooks offer an new Operating System. Time to short MSFT.

So, can Google pull it off. Look no farther than MAC OS X.  In March of 2001, Apple released Mac OS X 10.0, in my opinion one of the most daring, risky, and successful operating system projects in history. OS X was a total rewrite, based on bsd unix of the Macintosh operating system – aimed at the intel chip platform as Apple abandoned the RISC processor for their next generation computing platform. An undertaking of this magnitude is difficult to appreciate unless you have been part of such an effort (I’ve had the privilege twice). It almost always fails, but Apple did it and succeeded in remaking their company. Someday, I’d really like to meet someone that led in that project and pick their brain….

So, now Google has embarked on a very similar journey, but one that is much simpler – they are targeting netbooks and don’t have a legacy of applications to worry with. They don’t have a UI paradigm like Apple to bring forward, and they are looking to run all apps through the Google Chrome browser. Sounds like about 1/10 of the effort of OS X. So, I’m prettysure they will pull this off without too much difficulty. And, you can bet the next gen of Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Calendar, and Mail will be available right around the same time. Brilliant. Now, the question is truly: Can anyone stop Google?