Google’s Chrome Operating System Strategy: Top 5 Questions
The buzz says Google plans to ship an operating system — called Chrome Operating System — for netbooks. But the Chrome OS strategy raises as many questions as it answers. To wit, here are five key questions Google needs to answer to ensure success in the operating system market.
1. Branding and Positioning: Google has Chrome (the browser), Chrome OS (the operating system) and Android (the operating system). How are they similar, how do they differ, and which markets does each offering target?
2. Independent Software Vendors: Is Chrome OS simply an operating system to run Google Apps, or will Google offer software development kits to ISVs? Do operating systems still demand native local applications — or can Google get by with support for Web-driven applications and online services?
3. OEMs: Dell and Hewlett-Packard, among others, say they are interested in Google Chrome OS for netbooks. But will that interest drive PC makers to actually ship netbooks with Chrome OS?
4. Linux: Ah, Linux netbooks were hot items in North America a few months ago. But North American retailers seem less and less interested in Linux netbooks. Will a netbook showdown between Google and Microsoft push Linux further out of the netbook spotlight? And what, ultimately, is Google’s own Linux strategy?
5. Channel Partners: Is Google Chrome OS purely a consumer play? Or does Google plan to work with PC makers to push Google Chrome OS Netbooks through the channel?
Update, July 9, 11:37am eastern: How Google Chrome OS could impact Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2009 (WPC09)
Our resident blogger will be hunting down answers to those questions in the days ahead.