Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Google to launch operating system to rival Microsoft

The search engine, which already offers a suite of email, web and other software products that compete with Microsoft, said the system could be used by computers ranging from ultra-compact netbooks to full-size desktop PCs.

The new software, called the Google Chrome Operating System, will be in netbooks for consumers in the second half of 2010 and aims to make web applications easier to use.

"The operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web," Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google.

"The Chrome OS is our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be".

Google said it was already working with a number of manufacturers to produce and distribute the system.

"It's been part of their culture to go after and remove Microsoft as a major holder of technology, and this is part of their strategy to do it," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group.

"This could be very disruptive. If they can execute, Microsoft is vulnerable to an attack like this, and they know it."

Google and Microsoft have often locked horns over the years in a variety of markets, from internet search to mobile software. Microsoft Windows is currently installed in more than 90 per cent of the world's PCs.

A key factor will be whether Google can strike partnerships with PC makers, such as Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell Inc, which currently offer Windows on most of their product lines.

Google's Chrome Internet browser, launched in late 2008, remains a distant fourth in the Web browser market, with a 1.2 per cent share in February, according to market research firm Net Applications. Microsoft's Internet Explorer continues to dominate, with nearly 70 per cent.

A spokesman for Microsoft had no immediate comment.

Google said Chrome OS was a new project, separate from its Android mobile operating software found in some smartphones. Acer Inc, the world's No.3 PC brand, has already agreed to sell netbooks that run Android.