The relationship between Google and M$ is very interesting. Google operates in a different universe, one so far, far away from M$ that M$ has not been able to touch it. Google got into business on the web which M$ does not control. With a huge search/ad business, they could be a competitor of M$ but they are not, because M$ started so late. Now, it develops, Google has found a worm-hole back into M$’s universe and is readying an army of developers to flood M$’s universe with Android applications. Android was known to be developed for cell-phones but it has been discovered that Android can be compiled from source to produce a desktop OS.
Wow! A small bit of tweaking allows Android to run on netbooks… Google must be up on SunTzu:
Thus we may know that there are five essentials
(1) He will win who knows when to fight and when
not to fight.
(2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior
and inferior forces.
(3) He will win whose army is animated by the same
spirit throughout all its ranks.
(4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take
the enemy unprepared.
(5) He will win who has military capacity and is
not interfered with by the sovereign.
Thus, while appearing not to be dangerous or aggressive, Google has set up everything needed to depose M$ on the desktop, a huge army of developers, a platform easily ported to anything, and a revenue-generator. All that remains is the announcement of the battle, or perhaps, the victory.
If we look at netbooks as the battle-ground, and assume the end-user is agnostic (the OS just works), then market share will go as 1/N where M$ counts as one OS in the battle. There are many GNU/Linux choices, all making ground. Android can instantly push into the fray and take a huge portion because there could be a huge financial incentive to the OEMs in a partnership with Google… XP has perhaps 70% of new netbooks today. By next year it could have as little as 20% because it has nothing in particular that the consumer wants in this space. No bloat, please. No phoning home! No DRM! No licence-fee!
Once netbooks are overwhelmed, the notebook and desktop can follow because there is no particular difference that matters to Android/GNU/Linux. This is a one-way worm-hole. Google can attack and M$ has no response. Can they buy Yahoo? Can they build a decent OS for free? No way. Can they pay the whole world to install that other OS? Not for long. The world is too large to buy.