A Dell executive announced yesterday that the company is considering putting Google's Chrome operating system on some of its laptops, all of which currently run Microsoft Windows. Such a move by the world's third largest computer-maker would seem to be a blow for Microsoft, which generates much of its revenue from Windows licensing. Chrome OS, unlike Windows, will be available for free and will rely more heavily on web-based applications — think, Google Documents — than programs stored on a PC's hard drive. Is this the beginning of a major shift in the software industry?

Chrome will probably outcompete Windows in this market: Dell's adoption of Chrome OS makes complete sense, technology analyst Stephen O'Grady tells LinuxInsider, since it's often "likely to be a superior solution" for some laptop computers. On these "netbook"-style machines, the "benefits of a narrowly focused platform" like Chrome offer a meaningful "bonus" in computing performance.
"Is Dell taking a shine to Chrome?"

Windows still has a lot of advantages: "A major PC manufacturer pulling away from Windows would represent a massive shift in the OS landscape," says Lee Pender in Redmond Channel Partner magazine. But "it's really hard to imagine" anyone "just dumping Windows." Microsoft's operating system is "so familiar and ubiquitous" that most users will be reluctant to drop it "cold turkey" for the relatively-unknown Chrome OS. Dell may offer Chrome "as an option," but "not as the go-to OS for its PCs."
"Will Dell dump Windows for Google's Chrome OS?"

Actually, everyone should be afraid of Apple: There is "some evidence" suggesting the iPad is "'canibalizing' netbook sales," says Greg Sterling in Search Engine Land. That raises a "question of how much demand and what the market outlook will be" for a Chrome OS-based laptop. Maybe Google and Microsoft should worry less about each other, and more about Steve Jobs and Co.
"Dell: We'll be 'one of the leaders' with ChromeOS, Android"