And no it’s not in the goolies: it’s in the pocket.
The announcement of the google Chrome OS for netbooks is going to kick off another major row between what are now officially the two big players in the mainstream software market. There is however one major difference between the two sides in this civil war.
One is giving away its software free.
From the Google Blog on the 7th july:
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.
The software agreement fiasco nearly put paid to Chrome Browser before it started, but it has gained a little market share since they sorted that problem out. Even though it’s running a poor fourth behind IE, Firefox and Safari in that order, that’s not bad considering it’s about twelve months old. You can’t get cheaper than free however and the strength of the Google corporate machine helped it to overtake all of the Linux freebies.
This is the first time in many years that a major player has attempted to take on Microsoft where it has a stranglehold — the OS, God bless OS2 and all who sailed in her :-) which is placed right in the machine in the factory in most cases. Let there be no doubt, Google is the only serious player left to “Fight the good fight”. I am not totally anti-Microsoft, don’t get me wrong, I am however totally anti monopoly and I fully believe that competition is always a good thing. There are rumours of attempts by Google to deal with Dell, HP and other big makers and if they are giving the system away for nothing, that has to be a big help in the current economic climate when companies are seeking an edge over their competitors.
The bottom line of course is how far other software developers will go to support this sytem, and whether decent software will be produced for the fledgeling OS but Google already has a great start to its software package with Google Docs, Spreadsheet, email and calendar programs already available for free and the Google labs have some very interesting programs in the works. With a respectable start to even a CAD software package with Google Sketchup (Free and Paid for versions) , it’s very likely that a serious percentage of users will not need any further software in their machines other than what they are given free by Google with the operating System.
This looks like the beginning of the end of paying for your operating system. Despite the serious efforts made already with the various versions of Linux, we are still somewhat at the mercy of Gates and Co. with the popularity of Windows with so much software developed for Windows alone Microsoft can almost charge what they like and people have to pay it. With Microsoft’s nasty history in dealing with computer manufacturers who dare to think elsewhere, it is also likely that we could see some major court cases in the near future as they will lash out in all directions to try to hold on to what they have.
Interesting times ahead.