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    Google has made an interesting internal decision extremely public indeed: it is to completely phase out the use of Microsoft Windows on its workers’ desktop machines, claiming the operating system represents an unacceptable security risk.

    As reported over on The Financial Times, Google’s long-held stance that its employees should be free to choose whatever operating system they feel most comfortable with on their desktops will come to a sudden, screeching halt: while you’ll still have the choice of a Mac or a PC, you’ll have to run Linux or Mac OS X.

    According to an un-named Google employee, the move is an official decision from the higher-ups that “we’re not doing any more Windows[, as] it is a security effort” and that already “many [employees] have been moved away from [Windows-based] PCs, mostly towards Mac OS, following the China hacking attacks [against Google.]”

    While Mac OS appears to be the operating system of choice – possibly for its out-of-the-box, pre-configured ease of use – employees are also given the option to run a flavour of Linux. Again, an un-named employee states that “Linux is open source and we feel good about it[, but] Microsoft we don’t feel so good about.”

    The news is something of a disaster for Microsoft: with such a large company – and one seen as a trend-setter and trailblazer for the industry as a whole – making the concious decision to avoid the use of Windows altogether for security reasons, it could start to find its traditional iron grip on the corporate desktop market starting to weaken.

    Do you believe that Microsoft has anything to worry about following Google’s decision to drop Windows, or is this just posturing by Google as a response to Microsoft’s rival Bing search engine? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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    Linux’ share of the desktop market grew to 1.13 percent, says Net Applications, making Linux the only OS to gain in May. Meanwhile, Linux server revenue share grew to 16.8 percent, says IDC, and Linux is now running on 91 percent of the 500 fastest supercomputers.

    Linux has soared in recent years in the embedded world, especially with the Linux-based Android giving it a boost in smartphone sales. More fun is on the way, according to ABI Research, which recently projected that Linux-based mobile operating systems, led by Android, will own 33 percent of the global smartphone market by 2015, with a growth rate that is faster than the robust smartphone market at large.

  • Linux-enabled smartphones, led by the success of Google’s Android, will comprise 33 percent of the worldwide smartphone market by 2015, ABI Research anticipates.

    According to the same report, the growth of Linux-based smartphone shipments will outstrip the growth of the entire smartphone market in 2010. With more than 60,000 smartphones shipping per day, Android has catapulted ahead of other Linux mobile platforms. Much of the interest that handset OEMs and mobile operators have in Android can be traced to its flexibility, according ABI Research.

    But although Google has built early momentum, Android is not without competition, researchers believe. Industry heavyweights Intel, Nokia, and Samsung recently announced two other new Linux-based operating systems, bada and MeeGo.

    The bada platform is also kernel-configurable so that it can run either on the Linux kernel or a real-time operating system (RTOS) kernel, which makes bada applicable to a wider range of devices than just smartphones.