Will the Google OS challenge Microsoft?

The intertubes are abuzz with news about Google's announcement of its Chrome browser-based operating system. Folks that think it will be a Microsoft killer will be disappointed. The new entry to the OS marketplace will erode Microsoft market share at about the same rate competing software like Apple's OS X and the Unix-based Ubuntu. It's bad news for Microsoft, but the new software will barely put a dent in the Redmond company in the short term.

The good news is that more options are a good thing. Not everyone has the same needs, and having a variety of operating system choices, each with a different set of price points, applications, and features creates more competition, more pressure to continuously improve each OS, and more pressure to deliver more at reasonable prices.

Part of the reason Microsoft has been losing market share is because for a long time, there was a lack of competition. The company had little pressure to innovate, reduce prices, or add real value. With Google bringing yet another OS to market, Microsoft has to work harder to keep existing customers and to attract new customers. That is good for everyone.

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I remember when I first used Microsoft Word over a decade ago. I felt like it helped me think in news ways. I haven't felt that way about Microsoft products in awhile, especially Vista. I'm so hoping that Windows 7 will inspire me again to think in new ways and that, as you point out, competition will inspire Microsoft to do the same.