November 29, 2009 Leave a comment
So a friend and I have been batting a few emails back and forth about ChromeOS after I downloaded a disc image and played around with it for about 30 minutes. I also listened to some of Paul Thurrott’s thoughts on it on Windows Weekly and went back to play with it a little more. Generally I found it to be pretty good if a little slow, but this was running on a virtual machine and it is a year away from release.
So here are some chromulated thoughts about why this is a big deal:
- This will open up new competition around the OS at the netbook end of the market. The first netbooks shipped with various versions of linux but Microsoft sensed that this was an issue and made sure that Windows XP and then Windows 7 became the dominant OS on those machines by bringing down licensing costs for netbook vendors. ChromeOS will re-open that conversation because it is free and it has Google’s backing. One possible outcome is that Windows will become free on netbooks.
- This is one of those rare moments when Microsoft is up against a competitor (Google) that is as motivated and has deep pockets as it does. Motivation and money will enable Google to keep developing and pushing ChromeOS past the point where other might give up. Microsoft is not a stranger to this strategy having been well served by it in the past where products did not hit their stride until the third or fourth version.
- Google is being very careful to present ChromeOS as something a user might run on a secondary computer, thereby avoiding directly challenging Microsoft (we all know what happened to the last company who did that!)
- Apple will probably not be affected by this since it is not (yet) present at that end of the market. An Apple notebook is not something people looking to buy a netbook will consider.