The Rise of Chrome, the Fall of Windows

(The title is to entice you in, not to make you riot so calm down)

Today Intel and Google have come together to improve the performance of Chrome OS on Intel chips. Additionally Lenovo is tossing its hat further into the Chromebook game by offering a version of its Flex lineup running Chrome OS. This follows HP, Dell, Asus, and Acer in making Chrome devices.

All this should and like does concern Microsoft. While some OEMs have offered Linux based devices this is the first time to my mind that the PC makers have gone into making clamshell devices not running Windows en masse. Now Microsoft has taken some steps; it has reduced the license cost for devices aimed at the $200 mark of course made Windows free for certain screen sizes. But all that doesn't change the fact that ChromeOS is becoming a factor.

So what does it mean for Windows?

In some ways I think the biggest affect Chrome will have on Microsoft will be with Internet Explorer. Right now the IE team is redesigning the extensions are handled and have signaled a push to make IE friendlier for web apps. Additionally the IE team seems to be looking at IE as an app platform. Heck they are even talking about a redesign.

For Windows I think Windows RT along with the merged RT/Phone OS will be aimed at this burgeoning market for appliance computing. The way people use computers has changed to the point where buying a PC or Mac makes less sense outside of enthusiasts and professionals. Appliance like devices, like tablets, have proved there is a market (even as it slows) for devices that get users to the task they want to do on a computer without the hassle that comes from full system.

Now the big question for me is what will the adoption of Chromebooks along with Android devices mean for Windows PCs. Is Microsoft considering branded laptops with the Surface logo? New agreements to push budget PCs?

So those are my thoughts, what are yours. Will Chromebooks force Microsoft further into hardware or try to keep its PC partners in the fold? Or maybe a bit of both?