Google Challenging Windows?
A recent announcement from Google seems to be stepping all over what
used to be considered sacred ground for Microsoft. On Tuesday, Google
announced " Google Chrome OS," a new Linux-based OS to be publicly
launched in the second half of next year. Chrome OS will run on
netbooks, as well as desktops.
So far, Linux-based OSes haven't made much of a dent in Microsoft's OS
market share. Linux holds just 0.6 percent of the worldwide OS market,
according to StatCounter. In contrast, XP holds 68 percent of that
share, while Vista follows at 22 percent. Mac OS X has a toehold with 4
Will Chrome OS be any different than other Linux OSes when it comes to
battling Windows, which meets the legal definition of a monopoly? After
all, Linux was the OS of choice when netbooks first appeared. Now,
Microsoft officials crow about a 90 percent attach rate of XP on
netbooks and claim that any Windows 7 edition will be capable of running
on a netbook.
Still, Google's announcement suggests that things might be different
this time. Google is promising security from malware and no constant
updates. There's also a big incentive offered for developers: You write
for the browser OS and run the application anywhere. ("For application
developers, the Web is the platform," Google's blog states.) The appeal
to developers is straight from Microsoft's playbook. Does Google have
the clout such that application developers will write more for Chrome OS
than for Windows?
Much remains to be seen. And meanwhile, Microsoft has a research project
called Gazelle that treats the browser more like an OS. What's going on
here? Will the browser become the OS of the future?