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Plenty of pundits are talking about how much Microsoft has to lose
when Google releases its Chrome operating system, scheduled to debut on
consumer netbooks at the end of 2010. And aside from Linux itself,
Google’s forthcoming Linux-based Chrome OS may very well pose the
biggest threat to Microsoft’s OS dominance that the company has ever

But so far Microsoft reseller solution provider channel partners are
saying that they welcome the new OS from Google and aren’t worried
about losing Microsoft revenues. On the contrary, it could mean new
opportunities for VARs.

“If anything, I would expect it to present opportunities for solution
providers,” says M.J. Shoer, COO of Portsmouth, N.H.-based solution
provider Jenaly Technology Group. “If our clients need to
implement it because if positively impacts their business operations,
then it’s an opportunity for us to develop new expertise to help our
clients. If it does not materialize in that context, then it’s a
non-event for us.”  

The operating system could even help solution providers repurpose
existing workstations, extending their life spans, and resulting in
more services revenue as VARs help their clients configure the systems.

“We are very excited about a low-resource operating system capable of
running Web applications,” says Steven Stern, a partner with Legal
Technology Solutions in Baltimore, Md. “The impact goes far
beyond an artificial turf war between two software giants. Imagine being able to use workstations another five to seven years
after they have been rotated out. Today’s corporate desktop can
be a family’s PC for years after it is removed from ‘business class’

Mark Hilz, president and chief operating officer of INX Inc., a
Lewisville, Texas, integrator and large Cisco partner, cited the Google
Chrome announcement as yet another example of the types of challenges
the major incumbents in the technology industry are facing today. And
if the Google Chrome platform competes on price, then Microsoft has
something to worry about.

“If Chrome gives solution providers a price advantage, they’ll be all
over selling it,” Hilz said. “Think about it, if you virtualized
desktops to run most of your applications, do you care with the OS is?
Microsoft will lose market share because people care more about the
applications than the platform they run on.”

Google announced plans for the Chrome OS in its official blog on July
Google says the Chrome OS would be designed as a lightweight operating
system that boots quickly and is created specifically for the Web. That
will create a significant opportunity for the ISV community as well,
allowing any developer who works on applications for any standard Web
browser to get in on the action.

Google says it will work with the open-source community on the Chrome
OS and applications. The Chrome OS will be made up of the Google Chrome
browser running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel,
according to Google. But it will be distinct from Google’s Android
operating system, which is designed for a range of devices including
mobile phones and netbooks. Google Chrome OS will be designed
from the ground up, adding the security and other features that are
required by those who heavily rely on the Web.

And that will likely affect the operating system market in the coming years.

“Google’s Chrome OS will certainly make some impact on the current OS
market and not limited to Microsoft Windows but other open-source
operating systems as well,” says Shiv Kumar, executive vice president
of Edison, N.J.-based solution provider ZSL. But that doesn’t mean
the road will be an easy one for Google.

“Making a dent into the Microsoft’s ISV ecosystem is not that easy and
Google’s enterprise and channel positioning will play a major role in
making Chrome a real competitor for Windows or any other open-source OS
which has reasonable market share,” he adds.

And, after all, it’s Microsoft, says Lester Keizer, CEO of Las Vegas-based MSP Connecting Point.

“They’ll always do whatever they need to do to generate revenues for
themselves,” he says. “They are such a giant. This will get them to be
more responsive and more on their toes.”