Microsoft set to respond to Google OS next Monday?

Blogger Robert Scoble has posted a message on his FriendFeed account, hinting at a Microsoft announcement next Monday, related to Google's OS.

In the posting, Scoble notes "why did Google announce Chrome OS this week? Well, of course, Microsoft has a big announcement coming on Monday (I'm embargoed)". Neowin confirmed last week that Microsoft will announce that Windows 7 has hit RTM on Monday at the Worldwide Partner Conference that is taking place in New Orleans. Could Scoble be confirming this too or hinting at Microsoft's forthcoming Gazelle browser? Blogger Imran Hussain thinks it could be Gazelle too. Long Zheng thinks it could be Office Web.

Gazelle Browser

Microsoft has been developing "Gazelle" as an alternative to Internet Explorer. The browser acts like a self-contained operating system and is designed to address the fact that browsers like IE and Chrome have not been built by design to handle multiple processes and web applications in a secure manner. The implications from this is that older browsers have suffered performance and security issues.

The browser relies on a "browser kernel" (5,000 lines of C# code) that helps enforce security rules to prevent malicious access to the PC's underlying operating system. Built by the Microsoft Research team, company officials have been dropping hints that they are ready to talk more about Gazelle recently, we first heard about Gazelle back in February in a MS research blog posting. This week, Microsoft researcher Helen Wang spoke with CNET News and said "I think Gazelle marks a significant departure from all previous browsers, including Chrome and IE 8". Wang also noted "we're really trying to leverage the decades of operating system experience and apply that in the Web and browser setting".

In August, Microsoft Research's Security and Privacy Research Group lead by Wang will be presenting a research paper (PDF) at USENIX on their experimental web-browser. It's possible that Microsoft has brought forward the presentation to next Monday due to Google's recent OS announcement, but not likely.

Office Web Applications

In Scoble's FriendFeed he replies to others by hinting "part of the Microsoft announcement on Monday runs on Google Chrome (and Firefox for that matter)" meaning this could be a web service. Microsoft evangelist Keith Coombs posted on twitter that he was playing with some "secret Microsoft software" which he couldn't talk about until the end of the week. If it's the grand Office Web Apps unveiling this makes sense at a Partner Conference. Microsoft hinted at its Office Web Applications back at it's professional developers conference last year. The company plans to offer Office in a way that is similar to Google Apps/Docs. This is the more likely option out of the two.

Whatever is announced at next weeks Worldwide Partner Conference we can be sure Windows 7 RTM will be on the agenda.

Thanks to member Dead_Monkey for the news tip

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