Google Apps, Google browser, Android . . . Chrome OS. As most of you know by now, Google announced a full-blown operating system for netbooks and PCs:
Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we’re already talking to partners about the project, and we’ll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve . . .
Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android. Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems. While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google.
- Until people see and evaluate the OS no real assessments can be made of its prospects but Android suggests it will be solid and viable
- Accordingly this potentially gives MSFT a real run for its money (literally) in the netbook segment — the only healthy segment of the PC market. Could also eventually go “upstream” and challenge on laptops/PCs but that’s farther off and much more speculative.
- Google now is almost a complete alternative to MSFT (OS, apps, mobile, browser)
- Open source code (like Android) means that netbook OEMs will probably use Chrome to boost margins (if only a very little)
- The move is logical because Chrome (the browser) was a kind of OS or platform for developers and apps development. Android is an OS but perhaps not technically “robust” enough for netbooks and certainly not full PCs
- Chrome the OS will be deeply integrated with the browser experience and try to create a more seamless online-PC experience. Google made much of HTML 5 in the browser and what it could do — not quite enough it would seem, however.
- Apple and Google are now true competitors across a broader range of fronts. Google is very much like Microsoft now in many respects. It’s only a matter of time before Google CEO Eric Schmidt will be compelled by investors or regulators to depart the Apple board (the DOJ is looking into the two common Apple, Google directors)
- Even though there’s nothing explicitly anti-competitive here — in fact it makes the OS market more competitive — Google makes its position potentially more difficult with regulators simply because the company spans several key market segments and is using their integration to maintain leadership (though not illegally) in search online and extend it to mobile
You can read the scores of posts on Techmeme.
Agree with Henry Blodget’s remark about Chrome:
If Google wants to succeed in its boldest product launch to date, the Chrome OS, the company needs to focus on its success with the same intensity it once dedicated to search.
If it doesn’t, Chrome OS will end up just like Chrome: yet another irrelevant skunkworks project used by a handful of digerati and Microsoft-haters and ignored by everyone else.
Not sure that the criticism of Chrome the browser is fair yet. But Google’s “if we build it they will come” attitude more often than not has lead to products falling short of their potential. But Android success suggests that if Chrome the OS is good OEMs will use it.