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Tuesday, June 01, 2010, 12:40 pm PT (03:40 pm ET)

Security concerns prompt Google to switch from Windows to Mac

A major security breach in which Google's Chinese operations were hacked could "effectively end" the presence of Microsoft Windows machines at the search giant, with most systems replaced by Macs.

According to the Financial Times, multiple Google employees said that the company is phasing out the use of machines running Microsoft Windows. Most of those systems will reportedly be replaced by hardware from Apple.

New hires at Google are given the choice of running a Mac, or a system running Linux. One employee remarked to the paper that the company feels "good" about using Linux, because it is open source. "Microsoft we don't feel so good about."

For those who wish to stick with Windows, sources told the Times that it's a tall order. One employee reportedly said that approval for machines running the Microsoft operating system must come from "senior levels," while another said it "requires CIO approval."

While Google is turning to the Mac for security, it is also looking to transition many of its devices to products made in-house. Among those is its own Chrome OS, expected to arrive on new netbooks by the end of 2010.

And while the report said some employees were upset by the banning of Windows, most were "relieved" they still had Apple hardware as an option. "It would have made more people upset if they banned Macs rather than Windows," one source reportedly said.

The details suggest that Google is still accepting of Apple's Mac hardware and Mac OS X operating system despite the bitter rivalry that has formed between the two companies. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs feels that Google betrayed Apple by producing cellphones that resemble the iPhone, and Google has compared Apple to an Orwellian "Big Brother."

Google's introduction of the Chrome OS was one of a number of reasons that its chief executive, Eric Schmidt, stepped down from the Apple Board of Directors last August. Despite all of the publicity surrounding the feud between the two companies, Jobs was spotted having coffee with Schmidt in March.