Google's plans to develop a Chrome-based operating system will not pose any immediate threat to Microsoft, according to industry analyst Charles King.
The founder and principal analyst at Pund-IT said in a report that, although Chrome OS is aiming to compete with Windows 7 in the netbook category, Microsoft should enjoy an advantage in the near term.
Google introduced Chrome OS on Wednesday, estimating that the first products to use the operating system would hit the market in late 2010. But King noted that Microsoft will have had plenty of time to establish its own offering by that time.
"Underestimating Google is a mistake by nearly any measure, but we would suggest that expecting to compete effectively against Microsoft in markets where it has enjoyed a 12-plus month headstart is also foolish in the extreme," said the analyst.
"Depending on how or whether Chrome OS catches fire, Microsoft has the wherewithal to price the netbook version of Windows 7 and its associated applications very aggressively."
When Google does reach the market with Chrome OS, King said that the key to the operating system's success will not be how well it stacks up against Windows 7, but how well Google can work with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
If the company can get hardware vendors onboard, King suggests that Chrome OS has the potential to disrupt the entire computing industry.
But the analyst warned that Google has plenty of challenges to overcome before it can make a mark in the operating system market.
"Google deserves polite applause for Chrome OS, and we look forward to what OEMs and other potential partners might do with it," said King.
"But during the year or so before Google netbooks become commercially available, the most important question to consider is whether Google can really offer anything to users that Microsoft, Apple and others cannot."
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