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Microsoft to KO Google in (Windows) 7

MicrosoftMicrosoft versus Google is a matchup pleasing to pugilists. In the Redmond corner: a grizzled, bruised old champ, with just one fight left in him. And opposite? A confident young upstart, used only to winning big.

Ultimately, the youngster has to dethrone the champ, right? You’d think so, given the way that Google peacocks about the place, announcing products left, right and centre.

But there’s plenty more dog left in the Windows vendor. Indeed, Microsoft was recently unveiled as the UK’s top ‘super brand’, having the satisfaction of unseating Google in the process. That’s a subjective measure, of course, and in announcing Google Chrome OS, the search giant is bound to hurt Windows market share, right?

I’m not sure. Hype aside, Google has done nothing more than announce its intention to reskin Linux. And it hasn’t even done that yet. It’s interesting, but hardly disruptive.

And why should Microsoft care if Google wants the netbook space? It may be the fasted growing segment in the PC universe but netbooks account for only around 11 percent of the market. Google is coming from a standing start, too, so it’ll be a long while before Chrome appears in Microsoft’s rearview mirror.

In the meantime pre-sales of Windows 7 are going through the roof, Bing has overtaken Yahoo as Google’s biggest search rival (‘rival’ may be pushing it), and Microsoft’s upcoming Microsoft Office 2010 productivity suite will soon have a robust online version. Wither now, Google Docs?

Clearly the addition of Google Chrome OS to the less-than-competitive PC operating system market is A GOOD THING. We all benefit from greater choice, and Google has a happy history of making simple tools that work well and cost nothing. But beyond a bit of Apple-style Microsoft tail tweaking, the announcement of Chrome OS changes things very little. Do not believe the hype.

Unloved perhaps, but Microsoft is the champion, and will remain so for a while yet.

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