Rumors are starting to swirl around the Web to the effect that Google might be planning to make a netbook. The idea is simple: By offering a netbook, Google can get its software out to those who want it, while taking in some of the revenue that it would otherwise lose by partnering with third-party vendors. At first glance, it might make some sense. After all, why would Google want to leave what could be major cash on the table?
But a more thorough analysis of the market reveals that Google will never release a netbook. If Google is to be successful with Chrome OS, it will need to work well with third-party vendors. And it certainly can't step on any toes as it attempts to increase the popularity of its online operating system. The company simply can't afford to offer a netbook.
1. The vendors
Again, it's just too risky for Google to create its own netbook when it's trying desperately to find vendors that will bundle Chrome OS. If it offers just the software, more companies will be willing to jump on board with Chrome OS. But if those same companies know that Google is working on hardware of its own to compete against their products, they'll have no reason to work with Google. The search giant would water down the market.
2. Google is a software company
Although the company plans to release its Nexus One smartphone in the coming months, that product was built by phone vendor HTC. Google is simply not a hardware company. Its core competency is providing a user experience through online services and software. That is the focus that has helped Google become so powerful. It shouldn't stray from that.
3. The support conundrum
A major problem with offering hardware is supporting it. Problems arise with hardware that cause major headaches for the company offering it. Google will have enough issues to deal with when Chrome OS launches. To add a whole new set of problems on top of that doesn't make much sense.
4. The Microsoft model works
There is a reason why Microsoft never developed a computer to compete against Dell, Hewlett-Packard and the rest: It would have killed its software business. I believe that Google realizes that and understands the issue of competition in the marketplace. Microsoft has made a killing working with vendors. Google could too.