The hunt for Windows alternatives

Google Chrome OS is the highest profile attempt to unseat Windows in some time. Simon looks at the growing hunt for mass-market Windows alternatives.

And yet it's among big computer manufacturers in particular that there's growing interesting in trying something other than Microsoft's operating system. We've seen this quite a lot in the past, in that a manufacturer will have a dabble with an iteration of Linux, for instance, before retreating back to Microsoft. And no manufacturer is going to be daft enough to cut its ties with Windows altogether. Yet there does seem to be interest in weakening it a little.

Open Source

The most high profile example of a firm attempting to roll-out a non-Windows OS into the consumer space of late came with the onslaught of the netbook market, with many of the original models coming with a Linux OS rather than Windows on them.

Microsoft subsequently awoke to the potential of that particular market, and buying a Linux-installed netbook off the shelf is now quite a task. But the fact that the likes of ASUS was willing to launch its Eee PC without Windows by its side could yet prove to be telling.

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For arriving later this year is another fairly sizeable assault on Windows' dominance. Google has already made quite a lot of noise about its Chrome OS operating system that it's rolling out by the end of 2010. But what's interesting here is that Google is a firm of sufficient size to give its OS at least a chance. In the past, open source operating systems simply haven't been able to generate that much clout from such cash-rich companies.

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