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Google, Intel cement ties on Chrome OS, could weaken Wintel

Agam Shah | Sept. 12, 2013
New Chromebooks highlight a tight partnership between Google and Intel, and a shift away from only Wintel

"It's like netbook 2.0," McGregor said. "Intel is damned if they do, damned if they don't."

Intel's relationship with Microsoft is deteriorating, which also may have prompted the chip maker to approach Google, McGregor said. Intel tried to develop operating systems like Meego, but failed.

"[Microsoft and Intel] get along in the face of the public, but there's huge animosity," McGregor said.

The analysts agreed that Chrome OS won't sustain fast growth, but Intel had to continue supporting the OS to maintain a presence in the low-end of the PC market. Samsung offers a Chromebook based on a processor from ARM, which is trying to gain share in the low-cost PC market.

Intel will support any OS in markets ranging from PCs to wearables, but only if the customer asks for it, analysts said. For example, Intel has said smartphones based on its Atom chips could support Windows Phone OS, but only if customers requested it.

Intel this week introduced the very low power Quark family of chips for wearable and embedded devices. Intel didn't say which OSes will run on Quark, but Google has a non-Android OS for Google Glass. Intel also could possibly use a real-time operating system from its own Wind River unit. But the chip maker needs to keep its options open, analysts said.

"It's a logical business model for Intel," Gold said.

 

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