google-chrome-os-netbooksTwo separate WorksWithU reader polls reveal an interesting look at competition and cooperation between Ubuntu and Google. According to one set of poll results, Google has emerged as Ubuntu's second-biggest rival. But according to the second poll results, buzz about Google Chrome OS could ultimately help Ubuntu. Here's a look at the anecdotal data.

Please note: WorksWithU is not suggesting the polls are scientific. Anyone can participate in the polls, though participants are likely Ubuntu enthusiasts/users since the polls were conducted on

Poll Number One

Now, onto the data points. First, we asked readers: Who Is Canonical's Top Rival?

According to 238 responses, Microsoft (54%) remains Canonical's top competitor. But I was intrigued to see Google (14%) finish second in the poll, slightly ahead of:
  • Apple (12%)
  • Red Hat (11%)
  • Novell (5%)
  • "other" (4%)
No doubt, Google Android (for smart phones) and the forthcoming Google Chrome OS (initially for netbooks) have turned heads across the blogosphere. Canonical itself is working to ensure Android works well with Ubuntu.

My initial blog entry about Google Chrome OS suggested that Google may wind up stealing Ubuntu's thunder in selected market niches. Fellow WorksWithU Blogger Christopher Tozzi took the opposite stance, insisting that Google Chrome OS will help Ubuntu.

Poll Number 2

We took the debate to WorksWithU's readers. In our second poll, we asked readers to complete the following statement: "Google's Chrome OS for Netbooks will..."

Of the 328 poll responses...
  • 38% of readers said it was too soon to say
  • 24% said Chrome OS would help Ubuntu
  • 20% said Chrome OS would hurt Ubuntu
  • 18% said Chrome OS would neither help nor hurt Ubuntu
Clearly, opinions on the topic of Google and Ubuntu vary widely. But overall, a healthy number of readers seem to think Google Chrome OS buzz is good for Ubuntu -- even as readers concede that Google has emerged as a Canonical competitor in some areas.

Long live coopetition, a term inspired by the late Ray Noorda (Novell's former CEO), to describe the need for companies to both cooperate and compete with one another.

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