As part of Andy Rubin's departure from Google, the Android and Chrome OS divisions were merged. While many saw this as a merging of leadership during a vacuum, some saw the beginning of the end for one of Google's operating systems. Since its introduction in 2009, many have wondered why Google would create a second operating environment in Chrome OS, and how long it could survive in an already shrinking marketplace.
The environment, designed to be web-centric like webOS, has had a tremendous amount of trouble gaining any traction with customers, developers and hardware partners. To date, it seems like only Acer and Samsung have attempted Chromebooks, plus Google's own recent entry into the market. Google had hoped that the OS could live in the space being created in the low-power netbook category, but when that market collapsed, so did any hope of a successful Chrome OS.
Unfortunately for Google, that all happened several years ago, and Chrome OS has floundered since. In fact, I would wager that more machines have been sold running android than Chrome OS. That leads us to the odd decision that was creating competing products within the same company. Google has had huge success with Android, on phones, tablets and even some in the netbook space. With all of that success, why would you compete with yourself? It's a little like Microsoft Office and Microsoft Works, both of which had word processors, neither of which could read each other's files early in their life.
That leads to last week's decision to merge the departments for Chrome OS and Android into one. With the duality behind Google's OS strategy, it surely seems to suggest one will go away, but Eric Schmidt, Executive chairman of Google, ensures us that both will continue. He did suggest that the two might have more overlap in the future, however. My guess is that this is a Steve Jobs-level deception and that we will see one of these brands fade away in the future.
Would you be upset if Chrome OS vanished from the face of the Earth? Did you even know there was such a thing? Let us know below.
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