For cash-rich Google, its a cheap price to pay to cut Microsoft off at the knees by getting pride of place on about 33 percent on all new U.S. desktops.
Microsoft is worried about this because, despite what we Linux users would like to think, the vast majority of users stick with the operating system and applications that come on their machines.
If a Dell PC comes with even a Google search tool bar and nothing else from Google, that will still permanently cut into Microsofts plan to promote MSN with its own Microsoft Search Bar.
What does that have to do with Linux? Everything.
Microsoft may say that what ends up on the desktop is all about having the best products, but thats hooey. I dont say that as a Linux supporter, I say that as someone who knows how the desktop market works. Most users, Id say 80 percent, stick with what comes on their desktop. Period.