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Google CEO Eric Schmidt discusses rationale for Chrome OS

July 9, 2009 |  6:42 pm

Google CEO

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, top left, and co-founders Larry Page, right, and Sergey Brin in 2004. Credit: Ben Margot / Associated Press.

Sun Valley, Idaho -- In one of his first public discussions since announcing plans to launch the Chrome OS operating system, Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said his Mountain View, Calif., company's decision was based on the belief that there "is an opportunity to build an operating system built around the ubiquity and power of the Internet."

Speaking to reporters at the annual Allen & Co. Sun Valley conference along with Google co-founder Larry Page, Schmidt said Chrome OS, which is designed to work with Google's Chrome Web browser, would be faster for consumers because it would boot up almost instantaneously. Page added that the "browser is a great way to do most things" and that Chrome OS will get the computer "out of the way."

Schmidt said that Page and Sergey Brin, Google's other co-founder, had been pushing to create an operating system for six years. "Previous attempts on the Web have had various problems.... They haven't been zippy enough," Schmidt said. "We think the technology is now there."

As for working with computer makers such as Dell, Toshiba and Hewlett-Packard, Schmidt declined to identify individual companies but said "everybody we have talked to is very excited about the plan.... Hopefully later this year we will see some announcements."

Although Chrome OS is clearly a shot across the bow of Microsoft, Schmidt declined to discuss whether Google's operating system is designed to compete with the Redmond, Wash., software giant.

Asked whether Google's ambitions may raise eyebrows with federal regulators, Schmidt answered that his company is "pro-consumer."

-- Joe Flint

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