Every Cloud has a Chrome Lining

Posted on Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 by Print This Post Print This Post

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or “I’ll see your Bing, and raise you a Chrome

In typical understated fashion, Google announced on its blog last night that it will be releasing Google Chrome OS.

This is an interesting announcement, though unlikely to catch too many people totally by surprise. Google has been involved in cloud computing apps and tools for some time now, and it makes sense to move into this space. They have 6% market share of browsers, have a mobile OS, why not layer their browser on a Linux kernal to boot a machine and run its devices, then get users online to search, work, collaborate…

Think of the threat this poses to Microsoft’s core revenues. Microsoft’s revenue as an advertising company pales in the face of its revenue as a software company. Every Windows machine is revenue, every installation of Office is revenue. Netbooks, or even full laptops and desktops, running Chrome and accessing all of Google’s office tools. When you’re a PC maker trying to ship a complete product for $300-500, saving on OS and application licenses is a huge boon. Netbook makers know this, and many of the lower priced machines have shipped with Linux for some time to keep under $300.

Might Microsoft cry foul and get on the other side of the “bundled OS and web browser” antitrust arguments? It will be interesting to see.

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3 Responses to “Every Cloud has a Chrome Lining”

  1. This article from PC World does a good job of playing devil’s advocate in Microsoft’s favor.

    http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/168058/five_reasons_google_chrome_os_will_fail.html

    IMO, even if Chrome OS doesn’t win enough market share to be considered a success, Google is the first to attempt a browser-based OS and they’ll undoubtedly learn some lessons on the OS front from this effort. It’ll likely appeal to enough of the masses that it’ll see some success, too. Netbooks are cool.

    If the price and performance are right, this could be the kind of device that could knock the Kindle down a few notches because of the expanded capabilities and similar convenience. Especially since Google is distributing all of the public domain books already.

  2. Ryan Rosario says:

    Of course I am a huge Google fan, as well as anything that can be run in the cloud, but I think right now this does not have much of an impact on the OS community.

    Google Chrome has a pretty decent user base of Internet addicts and developers, but it is not mainstream yet. It has not even been released for Mac or Linux yet. Also, from a marketing perspective, it might be a tough sell to the average user that associates things like popups, vulnerabilities, spyware and security issues with web browsers, they may not take kindly to a browser based OS (although I suppose the same can be said about Windows + IE integration).

    The important thing is that Google can say that they were first, and I think that is all the PR is about for the time being. Microsoft should not be worried right now. In a few years, perhaps, but the OS will still be stuck with the die-hards for a while.

    Google has other things right now that it can make a huge impact on, beyond what they have already done.

  3. Matt Kain says:

    You might be right Ryan about the PR being about being first.

    Or maybe the whole thing is a giant “help wanted” ad… 1 year out, this is a pretty good way to attract some developers…

    Matt

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