Dell Considers Shift from Windows to Google Chrome

Dennis Faas's picture

Dell executive Amit Midha on Monday announced that the hardware company is considering using the Google Chrome operating system (OS) on a select list of its laptop computers. That could represent a step away by Dell from Microsoft's Windows offerings, and will likely be a major concern for the Redmond-based software giant.

In an interview with Reuters, Google senior executive Midha admitted that the company was considering a partial switch from Windows to Chrome on its laptops and perhaps some of its smartphones and tablet computers. The move could be enormous for all of the firms involved, given that Dell currently represents the third-largest computer-maker in the world. The loss of revenue would be considered hugely painful for Microsoft.

Google Option Cheaper, Less Demanding

Microsoft charges hardware producers like Dell to use Windows on each of the laptops it builds. However, that's not the case with Google's Chrome operating system, which would reportedly be available for free. It would rely heavily on no-cost, web-based/cloud computing applications like Google Docs, meaning Chrome might be an ideal operating system for low-end laptops like netbooks and those less powerful smartphones and tablets.

In an interview with tech blog LinuxInsider, analyst Stephen O'Grady said the move by Dell would be entirely logical. According to O'Grady, the Chrome OS would "likely... be a superior solution" for underpowered computers like netbooks, where the less-demanding Chrome would offer a "bonus" in computing performance over rival Windows. (Source:

The Move Away From Windows "Would Represent a Massive Shift"

Other analysts remain skeptical. Lee Pender recently noted in Redmond channel Partner magazine that "a major PC manufacturer pulling away from Windows would represent a massive shift in the [operating system] landscape," but that such a move remains "really hard to imagine."

For Midha and Dell, making a switch to Chrome OS would be about staying competitive with other hardware makers. If it gives their computers a performance edge over rivals like Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba, then the switch may be worth it. (Source:

"With Chrome or Android or anything like that, we want to be one of the leaders," Midha said.

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