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March 12, 2007

New Web OS to Become a Platform for Developers

I've just read the press release of a Swedish company called Xcerion, that will soon launch a "web operating system". The OS seems to incorporate every idea people expected to see it coming from Google:
The company has since its inception 2001 been in "stealth mode" and developed a revolutionary OS that changes how software is distributed, sold and developed. CEO, Daniel Arthursson says that the OS will enable the long tail business for software and provide an alternative for consumers and small businesses world-wide that are seeking a simpler, cheaper and more effective way of everyday computing. (...) Xcerion especially hopes to give people that cannot afford to buy expensive, licensed software a viable alternative. New low-cost and thin computers may also be possible to produce running Xcerion Internet OS (XIOS) on top of a stripped down Linux. (...)

During the next three years Xcerion expects to deliver hundreds of applications running on the OS – most of them for free. Mr. Arthursson says that the goal is not to reproduce all the functionality of current software – our aim is software for the masses and they often only need 40-50% of the functionality of today's software. The massive amount of applications that will be delivered is possible due to Xcerions unique technology platform and its underlying operating system (XIOS – Xcerion Internet OS) - a research and development project that has been going on for five years. The OS enables Xcerion and its partners to develop applications in XML that are visually orchestrated without any programming. (...)

The secret is data centers that scales to millions of users and an OS with zero-footprint, zero installation that also runs on top of today's popular operating systems. The OS is delivered as a dynamic service over the Internet. This approach makes the cost for supplying software extremely low per user and also solves many problems like virus threats, backups and having to install upgrades and patches.

The company, that has two former Microsoft employees as investors, promises to launch the "operating system" in the third quarter of 2007 and seems very confident about the future:

"Xcerion believes in the future of Internet self-service applications. Applications will move from the traditional desktop into the cloud and become available for free with added benefits of the dynamics of the Internet, like collaboration and social networking. We have the technology platform to create Web 2.0 applications faster, cheaper, more scalable and richer than anyone else."

Unlike Google, the company wants to open their "operating system" to developers, who will receive a share of the revenue obtained from the applications built by them. As reported by eWeek, "Xcerion is creating an online marketplace for finding, buying and selling software to enable a 'long tail' business for software by creating a new economy cluster with an online community, entrepreneurs and corporations. The service is targeted at consumers and small and midsize businesses."

There are already many "Internet operating systems" that run from the browser and replace some of the functionality of desktop software, but their performance fails to impress. Google also builds an "operating system", but most of its pieces are yet to be integrated.


  1. Can't say how much to expect out of a WebOS, but it will definitely eat a lot of bandwidth, which is precious in many parts of the world (including India). Also, it is slow (sumthing around 15-20kbps max), atleast for an operating system to boot-up from the internet.
    As you mentioned about Google's operating system in the last line of this post, we have many difficulties in using some of its 'pieces'. For eg. Google Docs is a pain (although other services do provide the best they have to). Considering an OS to load through the web, the network hardware has to be upgraded.

  2. That's just vaporware. They won't build something better than Google and even if they will, they won't have enough resources (data centers) to be reliable.

    Google already has APIs for some of its services and will continue to increase the extensibility.

  3. After reading "develop applications in XML that are visually orchestrated without any programming" I lost all interest. Sounds like bullshit.

  4. I'm not inclined to Windows. But, to reach those Web-based services, doesn't my computer need to connect to the internet and what allows it to get onto the internet? And why would I do some trivial tasks in In-Browser OS while I can, for example, view pictures in Windows way faster.

  5. You are right Justin, we actually dont need In-Browser OS. But sumhow I feel, it is going to work. For eg. compare it to the email stuff. We are habituated in using a webmail rather than using a desktop mail client (although the desktop client is much faster). Similarly, google reader is much better than your 'local' RSS reader. The only hitch seems to be the internet speed, which I believe Google will somehow find a way.

  6. Didn't somebody already try a similar concept of lightweight, platform-independent software called Java?

  7. Java is slow. It seems that this new "OS" is trying to compete against the internet as a platform. It will loose. I believe it is more likely that Google, Firefox, and the Internet in combination will produce better results that resembles a OS platform and applications.

  8. .NET and mono could be the solution if you really want to create a new OS.
    Java webstart could have been a solution too if it was finished... but the implementation is too poor.

    back to the topic:
    IMHO, i think that a new OS as defined here is useless. Never an internet application will provide better services than a true OS.
    But the goal is in the applications' use. I personally don't need a new word application, or a new powerpoint or a new clock or a new calculator !

  9. Xindesk is the same type of service, only closer to launching. and