There's little doubt in my mind that Google will not fail with Chrome OS.
Sure, the company's been known for a few misses, but it's already proven that it can build a solid operating system -- not to mention a Web browser, cloud computing suite, and the best search engine in the world. If you're not sold on track record alone, here are five reasons Chrome OS will succeed:
Even before Android found its way into any devices, it had street cred. That's paying off now, as smartphone manufacturers jump on board with the open OS with the easily-recognizable brand. Expect Google to get the same traction with Chrome OS, with both consumers and manufacturers. The average user may be frightened by Linux, but soothed by the open arms of Google.
Google hasn't announced how much Chrome OS will cost, but I'm willing to bet it will be cheaper than Windows XP, even at Microsoft's discounted netbook rate. Because its bread-and-butter remains in search ads, Google can afford to undercut Microsoft, which is already sacrificing OS profits to hang onto market share.
Good Specs Allowed
With Microsoft allegedly limiting the power and size of discount Windows XP-licensed netbooks, the door is open for Chrome OS to back better machines. Imagine, a netbook with 2GB of RAM and hybrid HDD/SSD storage. It could happen if Google convinces manufacturers to offer hardware upgrades for Chrome OS models.
Netbook Market Shift
Intel desperately wants consumers to know that netbooks aren't the same as full-powered PCs, because the cheap mini-notebooks are cannibalizing sales of their more expensive processors. Chrome OS will help send the message home with a simple, Web-only device, just in time for the rush of consumer ultra-low voltage PCs that offer cheap yet more powerful computing. The netbook market will change, and Google will be in perfect position.
In short, Chrome OS will do everything that Linux couldn't do on its own. With Google promising continued support for new hardware devices and support for developers to build apps, Chrome OS will look more attractive than Linux, and even Ubuntu. Add the simplicity and security that Google wants to provide, and Windows XP starts to seem like a second-tier offering.