Is Intel Ready to Break Microsoft's Heart?

google-chrome-netbookIntel has “been working with Google” on the search giant’s planned Chrome OS, according to a report today in The Inquirer, which goes on to herald the end of the Wintel (Intel PCs running the Windows OS) hegemony. My feeling is that such a proclamation may be a little premature given that Chrome won’t be shipping on consumer netbooks for another year, but I’ve emailed Intel to ask about its involvement anyhow. The degree to which Intel is involved would indicate just how badly Microsoft is bungling this whole netbooks thing, despite the fact that most consumers really, really want their netbooks with Windows rather than Linux.

So what has Microsoft done to help such consumers embrace portable computing? It hasn’t ported the coming Windows 7 to ARM-based chips, which are expected to be in the next generation of netbooks (the really awesome Nvidia Tegra chips are tied to Windows CE — bleh). Microsoft’s pricing for Windows 7 will add at least $50 to the cost to a cheap netbook (Microsoft makes a less robust edition that sells for less). Meanwhile, plenty of other vendors are throwing netbook OSes into the ring while Microsoft dithers.

In other Chrome-related news, Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, apparently wasn’t keen on building an OS, according to the Financial Times. But now he gets it. “We benefit…when [consumers] put more of their life online,” he reportedly told a group of media types at a Sun Valley confab last night. “They do more searches, click on more ads. It’s a very straight-forward strategic initiative.” Google, it basically makes the gargantuan universe of the Internet relevant to you. All for the price of a few ads.

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