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Google Says Chromebooks and Chrome Operating Systems Aren't Going Away

A rare pushback from the search giant on a reported story.


Rumors of the demise of the Chrome operating system have not just been exaggerated but are simply untrue, Google said on Monday in a rare public response to an earlier report.

A report on Thursday in the Wall Street Journal claimed Google is preparing to merge its Chrome OS, which powers the Web-centric Chromebook laptops, with its mobile OS Android. After the story landed, Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s SVP who runs both Android and Chrome, pushed back on it, tweeting that the company is “very committed” to the desktop operating system.

In a blog post on Monday, Lockheimer doubled down, writing that Google has “no plans to phase out Chrome OS.” The exec cited sales of Chromebooks in the education market, as well as Chrome’s security advantages:

“Meanwhile, companies such as Netflix, Sanmina, Starbucks and of course Google, are using Chromebooks given the ease of deployment, the ability to easily integrate with existing technologies, and a security model that protects users at all levels, from hardware to user data.”

Further proof that Google is sticking with Chrome, he added, is a new media player running on the OS that’s arriving soon. (Google’s streaming dongle, Chromecast, runs on a modified version of Chrome.)

While Google isn’t ditching Chrome, it is, as Re/code reported, expected to produce laptops with hardware partners that run on Android next year. (Don’t confuse the Chrome OS with the Chrome browser, which doesn’t appear to be going away either.)

Android laptops would be a tacit admission that the mobile OS, rooted in apps rather than the Web and with a far wider footprint, is more critical to Google’s future. Sources in the mobile industry suspect that Google may want to merge the two operating systems to make it simpler for developers and hardware partners, following Microsoft’s move. (Developers also describe the Chrome-Android drama as largely semantics; both systems run on Linux open-source software.)

Still, with its public position today, Google may find it difficult to pull the plug on the Chrome OS in the future. Although its retort to the Journal is less amusing than the last one, it’s a public retort nonetheless.

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