Consider the following developments:
- Google plans to ship a thin open source operating system -- called Google Chrome OS -- designed for Netbooks. Dell and Hewlett-Packard say they are interested in the operating system. Plus, many netbook providers were already taking a close look at Google Android, which initially targeted smart phones.
- Buzz has been building around Moblin, the mobile Linux operating system and application stack evangelized by Intel. It's designed for very small screens.
- Microsoft's Windows 7 is expected to launch in October 2009, and discounted pre-order sales for the operating system are strong.
- Large North American retailers like Best Buy and Staples seem to be less and less interested in Linux netbooks.
Google Chrome OSBut the real news today involves Google Chrome OS. As a universal brand, Google is in the unique position to garner instant attention from PC makers, retailers and netbook buyers.
- Does the typical consumer or small business owner know about Ubuntu and Canonical? In most cases, no.
- Would the typical consumer or small business owner be comfortable buying a low-cost netbook that was branded with Google software? In many cases, I suspect the answer is yes.
But now Canonical finds itself competing against established technology titans (Microsoft, Apple and soon Google) plus entrenched Linux providers (Red Hat and Novell).
Nobody ever said making Canonical a profitable business was going to be easy. And perhaps that's why Canonical has wisely been launching additional services and products involving storage (Ubuntu One), remote management (Landscape) and managed private cloud services.
Updated: July 9, 12:15pm eastern
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