Google Inc is declaring war on Microsoft Corp by seeking to unseat the software giant’s globally dominant Windows operating system for personal computers.
Google, which already offers a suite of e-mail, Web and other software products that compete with Microsoft, said on Tuesday it would launch a new operating system for computers.
Called the Google Chrome Operating System, the new software will be in netbooks for consumers in the second half of next year, Google said in a blog post, adding that it was working with multiple manufacturers.
“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,” he said.
Google and Microsoft have often locked horns over the years in a variety of markets. It remains to be seen if Google can take market share away from Microsoft on its home turf, with Windows currently installed in more than 90 percent of the world’s PCs.
Key to success will be whether Google can lock in 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 late last year, is a distant fourth in the Web browser market, with a 1.2 percent share in February, market research firm Net Applications said. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer continues to dominate, with nearly 70 percent.
The new Chrome OS will be fast and lightweight, enabling users to access the Web in a few seconds, Google said. The new OS is based on open-source Linux code, which allows third-party developers to design compatible applications.
“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, said in the blog post. The Chrome OS is “our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.”