Another Nail in Windows?

Google is making Chrome OS work even when it isn’t online:

Although Web use remains a central feature of Chromebooks, Google recently added the ability to edit videos and watch full movies offline, for instance. A shorter update cycle means that the company can be more responsive to user demand.

“The platform has evolved and keeps improving,” said Caesar Sengupta, vice president of product management for Chromebooks at Google. “It is an OS that updates every six weeks. It keeps getting better.”

Chromebooks can be used for far more offline purposes than two years ago and cloud services also mean they are a more viable alternative to traditional PCs, Sengupta said. The retailer Woolworths, for instance, has adopted Chromebooks over PCs for employee use.

“As the ecosystems evolve, more and more developers are writing apps using Chrome APIs so they work offline,” he said.

Thin-to-zero margin PC makers will stop paying Redmond for Windows on consumer devices in a heartbeat if Google succeeds at making Chrome a free and viable full-time operating system.

Tech analysts keep claiming that Android will do to iPhone this decade what Windows did to Macs in the ’90s — sideline and nearly kill it. They’re wrong for (at least) two reasons. The first is that mobile isn’t desktop. The second is that unlike Apple in the ’90s, today’s Apple actually remembers how to ship product.

The smarter money should be betting on Chrome OS to do to Windows what Android did to Windows Phone — suck all the money out of the market for paid operating systems. OEMs barely make any money at all selling Windows-powered PCs. So why should they keep paying the Microsoft Tax when and if Google delivers a viable and free alternative?