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Google’s Android May Challenge Microsoft in Portable Computers

Originally posted on Bloomberg

Google Inc.’s Android operating system, after making inroads into the mobile-phone market, may be running on portable computers within the next year, challenging the dominance of Microsoft Corp.

Google, which owns the most popular Internet search engine, could use its brand name and community of developers to get the software onto low-cost notebooks, said Ray Valdes, an analyst at Gartner Inc. One chipmaker, Freescale Semiconductor Inc., is already working on designs for an Android computer.

“Android could be a piece of a larger competitive battle between Google and Microsoft,” Valdes said. The San Jose, California-based analyst expects some kind of personal-computer device to use Android in the next 12 to 18 months.

Google is stepping up competition with Microsoft in areas outside of Internet searches, where it commands more than 60 percent of the U.S. market. While Android already battles Microsoft in software for mobile phones, moving into PCs would encroach onto its rival’s home turf. Microsoft has more than 90 percent of the operating-system market for PCs.

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