The thing is, why are these two competing? They both have their own monopolies in their own right, Google is now a verb meaning to search the web, and Microsoft Windows is the nearly ubiquitous operating system, even on netbooks.
The biggest problem I have with Google’s Chrome OS is that Microsoft is on the verge of releasing Windows 7, which according to many reviewers will be the best version of Windows yet – and it runs well on current Netbooks. Chrome OS is going to be a ‘lightweight’ OS designed for running a web browser and web-based content. This will mean that Netbooks based on Chrome OS can only run apps like Google Docs online instead of Microsoft Office, YouTube instead of Windows Media player.
I see the same problem with Microsoft’s Bing. It doesn’t do anything I’m not already getting from Google search. It just does the same thing, in the same way. There is nothing really to help me do more, or bring me better quality search results than I’m already getting.
To promote Chrome OS Google is probably going to provide incentives to both hardware manufacturers, maybe it will run on cheaper hardware? But it’s not like current Linux and Windows powered netbooks are that expensive. In typical Microsoft fashion Bing has a huge focus on Developer (developers! developers!) APIs hoping that someone else will make a killer app for them. Microsoft is a Platform company after all, and Google is a Search company.
We’ll see what happens in the end, but it’s pretty difficult for these companies to switch their identity with consumers.