Here's the takeaway. Let's say Google has success with its proposed Chrome app store marketplace, a market similar to the one they already provide for their Android OS users. The difference being that well see made-for-desktop applications being presented, instead of applications designed exclusively for mobile users.
Even better, Web-based applications will run on any OS used by those buying from the Chrome app store marketplace.
So considering that Google is aiming their Chrome OS at the netbook market to begin with, this keeps Google's efforts with Chrome OS in a growth market, while at the same time protecting against major downside should the project fizzle. Not bad: room for a raging success, while insulating the company from potential failure. (And remember, Google controls who has access to Chrome OS and who doesn't.)
Chrome OS and Android, redundant?
Thus far we've explored the likelihood that Chrome OS is not designed to compete with any given operating system. Rather, Ive pointed out that, like most Google projects, there's something much larger at work here.
The only issue with this kind of speculation is that Android is already available from Google. It's usable on existing netbooks, plus the application marketplace already exists on Android.
So why even bother with Chrome OS at all if not to compete with Microsoft Windows?
Here is why:1. Android is limited in comparison to a desktop operating system. Offering a marketplace on a desktop-based OS translates into a larger market share for both Google and those selling software through this venue.
2. Chrome OS provides the perfect testing ground completely separate from Android, Ubuntu Linux, Windows and so on. If an application marketplace for desktop software fails, Google can save face by explaining it was a beta experiment.
Ive looked at how Ubuntu and Chrome OS clearly have two separate destinies, in which neither overlaps directly with the other. Considering my belief that Chrome OS is merely a means to accessing Google services and promoting another app marketplace, I don't see Ubuntu being threatened by Chrome OS at all. Google has no reason to offer it to anyone beyond the tightly controlled netbook market.
One caution: offering a web-based application store without plenty of controlled testing would be a bad move for Google. So providing such a thing on Chrome OS makes complete sense. If successful, I see this new web-based application marketplace being available for Windows, OS X and yes eventually, Linux distributions such as Ubuntu.