While it may not have the same buzz as a new iPhone, Google's announcement of a new computer operating system based on its Chrome Web browser, has certainly set tongues wagging across the Interwebs. It certainly has many of the hallmarks of a hot news story--the bitter fight between Microsoft and Google; the rise of low-cost, low-power computing in Netbooks; free vs. paid software.
But while we're always in favor of more consumer choice and potentially lower prices, it's not quite time for Microsoft to worry about losing its firm hold on the Netbook market.
Microsoft's Windows XP is currently on 96 percent of Netbooks sold in the U.S. by some estimates (up from less than 10 percent in early 2008). When the similar idea of Netbooks running Google's Android operating system was discussed back in April, we said:
The very first Netbooks ran Linux operating systems, usually with a custom front-end to give users easy access to a Web browser and other frequently used apps. But as well-intentioned as that plan was, it wasn't until PC makers added the already archaic Windows XP operating system that the Netbook craze took off.
It wasn't that XP was the perfect solution for small screens and low-power CPUs--it's that consumers searching for a simple, low-cost second or travel laptop value ease of use over almost anything else. XP benefits from looking and feeling familiar to most users.
What we said then is just as true now, even if the OS is called Chrome and built specifically for PCs, rather than the smartphone-based Android.… Read more