Google has just announced that it hopes that by the middle of next year (2010) it will have an operating system (Google Chrome OS) running on netbooks. The plan is that the operating system will be further developed so that it can at some stage in the near future also run on PCs.
This is a bold move, and represents the first real challenge to Microsoft’s dominance of operating systems for a long time. Microsoft currently has around 90% of the operating system market and dethroning them will be a tough nut to crack.
What Google has said is that all of the operating systems around today started life before the world wide web, and as such were never designed for the way we use computers today. Google hopes that by developing an operating system that is designed purely for the web, it will remove such problems as viruses.
Google does of course already have an operating system for mobile phones called Android, so they do have some experience in the market. They also have a range of web-based applications, which they claim are being used by 1.75 million companies.
Stephen Shankland at CNET said the move had widespread implications.
“One is that it shows just how serious Google is about making the web into a foundation not just for static pages but for active applications, notably its own such as Google Docs and G-mail.”
“Another: it opens new competition with Microsoft and, potentially, a new reason for anti-trust regulators to pay close attention to Google’s moves.”
Some commentators said Google’s motivation in all this was pretty clear.
“One of Google’s major goals is to take Microsoft out, to systematically destroy their hold on the market,” said Mr Enderle.
“Google wants to eliminate Microsoft and it’s a unique battle. The strategy is good. The big question is, will it work?”