updated 10:50 am EDT, Fri July 10, 2009
Schmidt Resisted Chrome OS
Google CEO Eric Schmidt as part of his presentation at the Allen & Co. conference later on Thursday revealed that he had initially resisted both Chrome the web browser and eventually Chrome OS. In addition to discussing the possible conflict of interest with Apple after the unveiling of the full operating system, Schmidt told those gathered that he had originally wanted to avoid Chrome, and the OS as a result, after being soured by the early browser competition that eventually gave Microsoft's Internet Explorer the lead. It wasn't until company founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page showed a promising demo of Chrome that the chief executive eventually agreed to move ahead.
He accordingly shifted attention away from any possible direct rivalry with Microsoft and said the Redmond, Washington company was "welcome" to port Internet Explorer if it liked, although he didn't expect this to be the case. Chrome OS is instead pitched as an extension of Google's existing strategy: by encouraging more online use through web apps, it will feed more into Google's core businesses.
Schmidt did add that Chrome OS bears some similarities to Android and that they could get "even closer" in the future, although he wouldn't elaborate on what this would entail.
The software is expected to shake up netbooks and the low end of the PC market as a whole by presenting a cheaper, less resource-intensive altenrative to Windows. It should start up much more quickly and, by stressing web apps outside of a browser, will shrink the need for storage by depending mostly on Internet content. Early analysis doesn't forecast it competing directly with Apple as that company focuses heavily on high-end systems and processor-intensive tasks that can't currently be done with netbooks.
In an ironic observation outside of the discussion, photographers noticed that the official snapped photos of the press using a BlackBerry rather than an Android phone or iPhone.