In the third quarter of this year, a Swedish-based company called Xcerion expects to launch XIOS or Xcerion Internet Operating System. They predict that their XML-based operating system will allow for very inexpensive thin-clients – for example computers running Linux and a browser – to run a combination of applications delivered by Xcerion and third-parties. Xcerion’s hope is to do what Microsoft did for client-based application development for web-based application development. From a software developer’s perspective of consumer or business applications, this OS can potentially, dramatically reduce the number of operating systems that they will have to develop products for and support.
Xcerion expects to produce revenue by offering customers the ability to run a free ad-supported version of the application or pay a small annual fee ($5 – $10) to run them ad-free. The company also expects to manage subscriptions to third-party applications, collecting a portion of the subscription fee. They are embracing Google’s model for ad-supported revenue. But, will they be able to mine their customer data well enough so that they can provide advertisers with the same type of targeted ads as Google’s adword program. If so this model could work well for them, assuming that a large enough population of people use the completely free version.
For those business customers or those not wishing to have ads, time will tell if their pricing model and availability of business applications will enable them to be a viable alternative. I also wonder about the security of the Xcerion datacenter. I would expect a number of business users to spend time verifying their security. But, we have also seen some major organizations begin to move in the direction of SaaS. Last month Salesforce.com announced that Merrill Lynch was rolling out SFDCs new wealth management edition to approximately 25,000 users.
I personally will be very interested to test out this new Operating System. While Google, Microsoft and others have been working towards the development of web-based applications, this is one of the first organizations to go after a web-based operating system. If successful – and if not acquired by Google or Microsoft first – this company could give both of these organizations a run for their money.