Google operating system a hit with manufacturers

July 9, 2009

Google operating system a hit with manufacturersGoogle has announced partnerships with several big-name manufacturers for its forthcoming Chrome operating system. They include nearly all the major producers of consumer-oriented computers.

In a blog post today Google confirmed it is working with five computer manufacturers to produce Chrome-based machines: Acer, Asus, Lenovo, HP and Toshiba. Among the major U.S. producers, the only really notable absence is Dell.

Other partners announced include Freescale, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, all of whom produce chips used in smartphones. The only software partner listed was Adobe, which likely means the Chrome system will come bundled with Flash support. Google could also be looking use Adobe’s Air system to bring more online applications to Chrome.

It’s worth remembering these partnerships won’t necessarily all lead to something. As an open source system there is little if any financial commitment involved in becoming a “partner” and it’s a low-risk way of getting in on a project which will inevitably have a high profile.

Google has already indicated the system will be aimed at netbooks at first, with machines planned to be on sale in 12 to 18 months. With the announcement of partnerships with smartphone chipmakers, it’s not clear how the system will co-exist with Android. Google says the difference is that Chrome is aimed primarily at people who spend most of their time working online, so within the phone market it could be targeted at high-end handsets designed for the business market.

Time spent online, of course, is time Google can show users adverts, which appears to be the business model behind the Chrome system. That’s led to speculation that some of these partnerships may involve Google subsidizing the cost of netbooks. Peter Glaskowsky of CNET points out that with open source netbooks being so low-priced, it would only take a small subsidy to make a machine significantly cheaper than rival options.

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7 Responses to “Google operating system a hit with manufacturers”

  1. Mitch:

    I think the main reason behind Dell’s absence could be one of two things: a non-competition agreement with Ubuntu (also open source) or a simple “we’re just not ready to commit”.

    Either makes sense, and doesn’t mean that Dell is completely out – just not in right away.

    Dell was one of the first major producers to include an open source option that became mainstream, after all.

  2. Mayank Agarwal:

    yeah even i was wondering wer is DELL (HELL?)… has this got some thing to do with the close relationship of M$ and Dell??

  3. Ralph:

    Lenovo ?

    Didn’t that Lenovo analyst recently say that Linux on netbooks is doomed and praised Windows right here on Tech Blorge?

    http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/2009/04/21/lenovo-analyst-linux-on-netbooks-is-doomed/

    But now, since Google is releasing their own operating system (based from a Linux kernel) and because Google is behind it…it will be a success now?

    Hello?

    I wonder how that “clueless analyst” will chime on this one.

    Also

    Does this mean that Best Buy and other brick and mortar retailers will be selling non Windows netbooks right along side Windows netbooks and computers?

    If anyone was lucky to find a Linux netbook a year ago at a brick and mortar retailer, it often was in a area away from the the rest of the laptops and netbooks or hidden away in the back room. You would have to ask for it, it wasn’t well promoted…to put it mildly…

    Will that be the same game plan this time? Or since that Google is behind it the OS…the story will be different now?

  4. Hugh:

    “That’s led to speculation that some of these partnerships may involve Google subsidizing the cost of netbooks. [...] it would only take a small subsidy to make a machine significantly cheaper than rival options.”

    That’s a very interesting point, and MS are doubtless sweating bullets thinking about the possibility. Maybe they’ll have to give Windows 7 away for free.

  5. Ralph:

    @ Hugh

    They should give away Windows 7 for free for everyone who has a Vista OS. That would go a long way in helping “customer retention”.

    The only thing I am slightly pissed about sll of this…is that for a number of years we already had a good alternative to Windows. It is Linux, and their premier distro Ubuntu has helped chang the shape of computing forever.

    Ubuntu or Linux for that matter gets no major press, suddenly Google comes around with their own OS. And it is a major deal. Sure Google’s OS is based on a Linux kernel and is open source. But what will this do to Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva and others?

    Maybe Google’s OS might be the stepping stone toward a double digit market share for open source operating systems. Then again, it may steal thunder from Ubuntu and other fine distros…There are two sides to this “coin”.

    As they say..stay tuned

  6. Hugh:

    Gudday Ralph,

    I agree that all the victims of Vista should receive a free copy of Windows 7, but it’s unlikely that Microsoft will go down that road – they’re more interested in grabbing all the cash they can, perhaps because they can see the end of the line looming into view.

    You are also correct that Google’s plans are a double-edged sword, and there is the potential for other Linux distributions to lose market share. However it is nice to see Microsoft getting squeezed so hard, and if a pyrrhic victory ensues I guess that’s the way the world turns (just as IBM was once the big bad monopoly and Microsoft was the brash underdog).

    Whatever happens, those of who value our freedom will continue to use software whose ethos is consistent with ours; in particular I suspect that there will always be a place for diverse Linux distributions amongst the ranks of the technical cognoscenti.

    Of course, the most amusing thing in all of this is watching the expressions on the faces of the “Microsoft is huge and rules the world and has buckets of cash and is insanely profitable and can never die” crowd as the realisation slowly seeps into their uncomprehending brains that all is not well in Redmond. Even the dullest Microsoft sycophants will learn that all glory is fleeting, and that not even Microsoft is immune.

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