Much discussion over Google’s announcement of its forthcoming Chrome OS. Is this the full announcement of war with Microsoft? Is this going to shake up the whole industry?
In the short term (which means when Chrome OS launches in late 2010), the OS is planned for use on netbooks. This is a perfect match for a web dependent OS. Those devices are low powered and typically run Windows XP since they don’t have the specs to effectively run Vista or Win7. So it is a daring new competitor in a market segment that buys old Microsoft software.
The bigger issue is that we are turning a corner on the value of software (not necessarily the OS). Chrome OS is going to provide productivity applications through Google Docs. This will be the first attempt to see if users would be happy with a non-desktop approach to software. Certainly now you can do all kinds of productivity, photo editing and content sharing through online options. But right now these are just that – options. Not the sole method for tackling the problem. Will users be happy with a free but online only solution for basic work. That’s what we’ll learn.
This is more of a shot across the bow of MS Office than of Windows proper.