Might Google drop Chrome OS beta as a Windows 7 spoiler?

Might Google drop Chrome OS beta as a Windows 7 spoiler?

Summary: Microsoft is launching Windows 7 seven days from today on October 22. This evening, Google is holding an "open house" -- which, it turns out, is open to everyone but the press -- during which company officials are slated to share more details on its forthcoming Chrome OS. Coincidence?

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Warning: This is a completely speculative post. But stay with me as I paint a possible scenario...

Microsoft is launching Windows 7 seven days from today on October 22. This evening, Google is holding an "open house" -- which, it turns out, is open to everyone but the press -- during which company officials are slated to share more details on its forthcoming Chrome OS. (You can bet there will be plenty of bloggers in attendance who will share all...)

Meanwhile, a leaked copy of the browser that's allegedly part of the Chrome OS seems to be circulating out there. (Update: This isn't the OS but the implication seems to be the actual Chrome OS is in the wild or soon could be. Thanks for the clarification, TZ.)

Given the propensity of competitors (including Microsoft) to try to rain on each other's parades -- or new product launches -- it's not so far-fetched to see this evening's Chrome OS show-and-tell as Google's attempt to confuse the OS market just in time for Windows 7.

When Google first shared its intentions to deliver Chrome OS by the latter half of 2010, the company created a lot more questions than answers. Was Chrome OS simply a version of Linux with the Chrome browser fused into it? Would it be a netbook OS only? How would it differ from Android? Would Chrome OS even be a true "operating system," in the sense we understand that term today?

If I were Google's CEO Eric Schmidt, I'd pick October 22 as the date when I'd drop the first Chrome OS beta. Guess we'll find out by next week if Schmidt is as diabolical as I am....

Meanwhile, what do you expect Apple to do in honor of next week's Windows 7 launch?

Update: Hmmm. It looks like Google didn't end up showing Chrome OS after all and officials are claiming it wasn't on the agenda.  Schmidt did say during yesterday's earnings call with press and analysts that it is on track to go to testers before the end of this year, however.

Topics: Software, Google, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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76 comments
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  • It could also backfire

    and be lost in the Windows 7 hype and push?
    GuidingLight
    • also anyboby that have 2 once of memory

      remember that nt vista was and in vista case is .... so a good kick in the ball by chrome os would be great ..... hype and push about win 7 .... not so sure
      Quebec-french
      • sorry, but that made NO sense. (nt)

        what were you even saying?
        ericesque
        • Agreed.

          Was he saying that Chrome OS would kick Windows7's butt to the street as there is no hype about it???

          I gave up on the fifth re-read of it.

          GuidingLight
    • Exactly...

      I figure an announcement by Google that day will only appeal to Microsoft-hating tech enthusiasts, and anyone else that hears about it will be like, "I don't get it... can't I already Google on my computer?"
      GoodThings2Life
      • Microsoft-hating tech enthusiasts

        In other word the Tech Media?
        mikefarinha
  • That would be great!

    It would be cool, if the Chrome OS beta was released on Oct 22. It would just add to the competitive excitement. Apparently, Apple has a marketing campaign planned, for that time, also.

    For me, I just want to start playing with the Chrome OS, so getting my hands on it in the next week would be awesome!
    linuser
  • Wouldn't make any difference to W7 sales

    Most people buying a retail copy of W7 on October 22nd are there because they're really excited for it. They're buying anyway.

    Most other people going to W7 will be doing so when they buy a new PC or using the free upgrade included with recently purchased Vista PCs. ChromeOS isn't an alternative for these people -- unless they go out of their way to buy a PC with no OS installed or decide not to upgrade.

    Businesses won't be looking at ChromeOS for years or decades.

    So what's left? The small percentage of the tech community that dabbles in exotic OS installs and would have otherwise pirated W7.

    I'm thinking it'd do more harm to ChromeOS than good.



    ericesque
    • Heh

      We're yet to see how much business embraces Windows7 - it'll need to
      be significantly more than they did Vista or Microsoft are really in
      trouble.

      Anything that muddies the water is bad for Microsoft, and don't forget
      Windows7 is Microsoft's shot at rescuing their position in Netbooks
      (which would be fine, if they wanted to keep XP around, but as they
      don't - well it's not so good).

      For Google this would be hijinks and mischief on a grand scale.
      However I suspect it'll be Apple who really put the boot in, new iMacs
      perhaps? If I were a betting man, I'd say new iMacs WITH multitouch,
      that would really hurt (extend the iPhone OS into Mac OS X's
      dashboard... yeah, that's what I'd do).
      jeremychappell
      • business W7

        So far the response I've read about and witnessed seems to be highly positive. Survey results conveying that W7 will be the fastest and most widely adopted release of Windows ever for businesses.

        No, it hasn't happened yet, but I think a lot of business users will be looking at W7 on their desktop by June next year.
        ericesque
      • Let Apple steal the show...

        just like they did with their iPod lineup right before the ZuneHD launched! *snickers*

        AGAIN,it would probably hurt Apple's sales more than Windows 7.
        ericesque
        • And had nothing much to show while doing it.

          I of course own a Zune HD and its AWESOME!

          The only major Microsoft platform I don't have in my house is an Xbox 360. I DON'T DO CONSOLE GAMIMG!!! PERIOD!
          Heatlesssun
          • xbox as media extender

            I haven't upgraded to the ZuneHD since I just got
            my 120 last Christmas, but don't count out the
            360. I plan on getting the Arcade ($199) version
            primarily for the media extender capabilities.
            Put a TV tuner in my desktop to record shows and
            stream them to the 360 as a DVR solution. Since
            it can also stream music, video, pictures and
            Netflix it brings all my content to my living room
            for a very reasonable price!
            ericesque
    • Somebody gets it.

      "Most other people going to W7 will be doing so when they buy a new PC ... ChromeOS isn't an alternative for these people -- unless they go out of their way to buy a PC with no OS installed or decide not to upgrade."

      The same actions that keep Linux as a niche in the home market will keep Chrome as a minority player. Home users don't do upgrades, and they sure don't install an OS from scratch; they buy new systems with pre-installed operating systems.
      CharlieSpencer
      • yep

        <rant> unless OEMs decide to boot out Windows and install Chrome OS, and I don't think they would do it with a beta version. Or Google goes to EC and cries a lot, then EU will put an anti-trust on Microsoft again so that they could bilk $ from this litigation and ask Microsoft to put a survey page to ask the Eurpoeans to choose OS from Windows, Linux, BSD, MacOSX, Chrome etc. to install at the cost of Windows. That would confuse the home user and will decide not to buy a new computer. Business will choose W7 or whatever at that time and ignore rest.
        </rant>
        --Ram--
        Ram U
  • For everyone to hear about it & be confused about Win7, leave out the press

    Huh? Seems somewhat counterintuitive...
    dunraven
    • totally intuitive!

      It's because the press would try to explain the concept. Bloggers are fully incapable of communicating coherently, accurately, and/or truthfully. Therefore, to confuse everyone, give bloggers the scoop! :P
      ericesque
  • c:\ongrats.wn7

    Apple will do something snarky, a commercial or something, but doubtful a big product launch.
    HollywoodDog
  • Excellent point..

    "If I were Google?s CEO Eric Schmidt, I?d pick October 22 as the date when I?d drop the first Chrome OS beta. Guess we?ll find out by next week if Schmidt is as diabolical as I am?." Excellent point, IF google just release it even if it only had half the features in it so far it would almost force the bloggers to blog about it instead of giving Win7 all of their attention. For mac I expect them to find annoyances and have a new commercial for them and blanket TV with it. It should be an exciting week next week.

    NoThomas
    • One more thing

      Does anyone else think its hypocritical of google, after all these years of being hard on MS for tying IE with Windows, for them to release an OS that is tied to Chrome?
      NoThomas