Analysts Are Guarded on Chromes Prospects

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-09-20 Print this article Print

Forrester Research analyst Sheri McLeish said Google is not going to get a significant market uptake just from Sony, but it signals that they are negotiating and she also expects additional deals to come the browser's way.

"It will be a delicate balance for PC manufacturers, but because of the rulings in Europe that require Windows 7 not to be bundled with IE 8, they will need to provide additional browsers anyway," McLeish said. "This makes it easier for them to add Chrome or another browser to the system image."

Gartner's Ray Valdes is a bit more skeptical on the matter. "I don't think there will be a big impact from this one deal. I think it's about visibility, it's about branding, and it's also about you have to begin the long march with one step at a time. But I don't see that they're going to get a huge number of deals."

Indeed, Valdes said Google needs to do more to move Chrome forward, inking more OEM deals, adding more features and offering better platform support.

Why are the analysts so skeptical? At one point, Microsoft's IE commanded 90 percent of the browser market, attesting to how well bundling Web browsers on PCs works, particularly if one has an operating system to go with it.

Therein lies the rub. PC manufacturers, which have nothing but dumb boxes of metal, plastic and silicon without an OS to support them, could fear spurning Microsoft by going with Chrome. This would make it harder for Chrome to find purchase with HP, Dell, Lenovo or other PC makers.  

"There is a reluctance. Google would need to change the value proposition," Valdes said. "It can't be all risk and no reward for those PC makers. Right now, what's in it for a PC maker, to risk getting on the bad side of one vendor without significant financial return?"

Of course, Chrome deals with hardware vendors would be more impactful if Google were to bundle it along with its forthcoming Chrome Operating System. "That would be a new category," Valdes said.  


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