Google Chrome OS Netbooks Could Arrive This Year

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Chrome OS may give Eric Schmidt reason to leave Apple’s board, but he declined to acknowledge Microsoft as a competitor

Netbooks running Chrome OS, Google’s newly announced operating system, may be available later this year, according to a report from Reuters, which quoted Google chief executive Eric Schmidt at the Allen & Co. media and technology conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, on 9 July.

“Everybody we’ve talked to under nondisclosure is excited about the plan,” Schmidt told Reuters. “So hopefully later this year we’ll see some announcements.”

According to Reuters, Hewlett-Packard and Acer are working with Google to create devices running Chrome OS, which was designed to better exploit the Chrome browser and modern Web services, such as online applications.

Google introduced Chrome OS on 7 July, just nine months after its Chrome browser, which already has nearly 30 million users, according to Google. Initially, the Google team said there would be some overlap between Chrome and Android—Google’s mobile operating system, used predominantly on smartphones—but that the two would still be very distinct.

Speaking on 9 July, however, Schmidt told Reuters that the two products are closely related and could eventually “merge even closer.”

Chrome OS is expected to compete with Microsoft’s Windows operating systems, as well as Apple’s OS X platform. Consequently, Schmidt, who is on Apple’s board, told Reuters he is in talks with Apple regarding whether he should excuse himself from that position.

Competition between Google and Microsoft has also grown in recent months, with Microsoft launching its own search engine, Bing—which on 1 July added the capability to search Twitter tweets, a functionality Google does not share.

Schmidt, however, reportedly declined to discuss the rivalry. “I don’t want to talk about Microsoft,” he told Reuters. “We actually don’t look at market share at all.”

The Allen & Co. Sun Valley Conference takes place each July and is hosted by the private investment firm Allen & Co. Its guests are typically high-profile business leaders, political figures and philanthropists. Last year’s roster included Rupert Murdoch.

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