Cringely thinks that The Google’s motivation to do Chrome is fear that that Microsoft will turn off ads in IE:
Microsoft can do pretty much whatever it wants in this area. There is plenty of browser competition. They can hobble their own product if they like, though it would drive users away from IE — from a product that brings Microsoft no direct revenue anyway — so what’s the risk?
Microsoft turns off the ads in IE and what happens? Google takes a huge revenue hit, is knocked down three pegs in the eyes of Wall Street, while pretty much nothing happens to Microsoft, which would have just shown the world who is still the sheriff.
I am not saying this is going to happen, but I AM saying that it COULD happen — and that very remote possibility is, by itself, enough to make Google have to produce its own browser.
This is a fun premise for a potboiler, but M$ wouldn’t do it because it would drive developers into Apple’s arms, and Apple is coming on very strong.
I imagine that the best reason to do Chrome is in the finance, though I don’t have the data on where that is in their balance sheet. But, for example, Google pays big bucks to companies that sell PCs to pre-install Google Desktop aka Gadgets. I imagine this is overall for strategic reasons and not for day to day revenues. However once those thingies are pre-installed there are a lot of revenue opportunities. Firefox makes a living on search referral fees from Google, and Google is losing that money by having Firefox pre-installed with Desktop rather than Chrome. The major expense for Google is probably paying for distribution rather than developing the browser, so given that they’re already laying down the money, why not send the user into a Google property?
But whatever. IMO this is Goog jumping the shark, but so what. I realize that I am totally on my own in this. A lone voice in the wilderness. A guy with a battery powered megaphone reading out the old testament on a busy street. Just remember you heard it hear first when Google comes for your liver.