Microsoft needs to stay ahead of the game these days as Apple makes deeper inroads into the consumer device market. iPad and iPhone sales are good and the market segment that they are catering to is one that Microsoft has failed dismally in, mobile devices. Windows Mobile (or Windows Phone) may have been a good idea, having the seamless integration of your desktop and mobile operating systems, but taking a look at iPhone sales, you realize Microsoft never got it right and Ballmer may have got it wrong again.

In a recent interview with Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, and Ray Ozzie, the chief software architect, at the Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsD conference, Ballmer had some questions regarding Google and their ‘two’ operating stems. Ballmer cited the fact that he thought Google’s strategy of employing two separate operating systems was not a good one, and they needed to focus on ‘coherence’.

Microsoft’s Strategy

Microsoft needs to reclaim some lost (and still losing) ground in the mobile and tablet devices market segment. Android has shown exceptional growth figures since it’s recent launch and the applications for Android on future devices are enormous. Ballmer’s comment of ‘two’ operating systems is also somewhat flawed. Chrome OS and Android are both based on Linux and as such, at their core, are not actually separate systems. Google is in the position to use open source architecture, like Linux, as the basis for it’s operating systems because that’s not where they make their money. Microsoft on the other hand makes the bulk of their profit from software sales and the thought of Google’s Chrome OS eating away at their profit line must be frightening.

New Products

The launch of Chrome OS is on the horizon and is seeking to put users in the ‘cloud’, this works for Google as it allows them to better target their advertising with cloud applications and other Google products. Microsoft is scrambling to catch up and Ballmer’s comments illustrate this. A free operating system from Google offered on cheap devices is a major threat to Microsoft’s domination of the market. The launch of Windows 7 was successful but Google will be under-cutting it’s pricing and targeting a different segment of the market, something for Microsoft to worry about.

Are they two operating systems?

Ballmer’s comments seem premature with Chrome OS not really a mainstream product as this stage. The final offering we see from Google may be very tightly integrated with Android and let’s not forget the first release will be version one. Further down the line a merging of Android and Chrome OS as a solution for all mobile devices, in some form or other, is definitely not out of the question.

Microsoft’s business model has worked for many years and has made them a very successful company, but a company like Google has the financial power to really take a significant chunk of that market away from Microsoft. Looking at the sales of Android devices and the launch of Chrome OS on the horizon, Microsoft have a lot to worry about.