Google Chrome OS: What’s In It for VARs?
First, Google's overview of Chrome OS:
Google, as expected, pulled back the curtains on Chrome OS today. The effort includes a three-minute video that explains why Google is developing Chrome OS for netbooks and other slim devices. Here, The VAR Guy offers his two cents on Google’s Chrome OS efforts — and the implications for channel partners and rivals like Microsoft and Canonical. Take a look.
First, Google’s overview of Chrome OS:
Sounds slick. Looks slick. But let’s keep Google’s marketing in perspective. Chrome OS won’t be ready for the masses for at least a year. In a blog post today, Google stated:
Today we are open-sourcing the project as Chromium OS. We are doing this early, a year before Google Chrome OS will be ready for users, because we are eager to engage with partners, the open source community and developers. As with the Google Chrome browser, development will be done in the open from this point on. This means the code is free, accessible to anyone and open for contributions. The Chromium OS project includes our current code base, user interface experiments and some initial designs for ongoing development. This is the initial sketch and we will color it in over the course of the next year.
Chrome OS for VARs?
At first glance Chrome OS looks like it targets mobile consumer devices — low-cost netbooks that mostly run Windows XP and Windows 7 today. But folks let’s not overlook the fact that netbooks are increasingly associated with service providers and recurring monthly revenue.
Over time, The VAR Guy suspects, MSPs will offer netbooks under hardware as a service (HaaS) contracts.
No doubt, Linux has had a hit-and-miss history on netbooks. Offerings like Canonical’s Ubuntu started out strong on netbooks in the US, but Microsoft swiftly fought back in early 2009 and more recently with both Windows XP and Windows 7 for netbooks … alas, Windows Vista was too bloated for netbooks. (As you may know, The VAR Guy’s sister site, WorksWithU, closely tracks the Ubuntu market.)
The Google Apps Connection
Even if Chrome OS isn’t perfect at launch, The VAR Guy thinks it will gain channel momentum. The reason: Google will surely connect the dots between Chrome OS and Google Apps.
Roughly 16 percent of MSPs already offer Google Apps to their customers, according to the third-annual MSPmentor 100 survey, which continues through Dec. 11. Google Chrome OS devices, The VAR Guy believes, will be a natural sales extension for Google Apps resellers.