Bill Gates is one of the sceptics on Google Chrome OS. For him, the vagueness of Google's announcement makes the OS look more interesting than it actually is.
Steve Ballmer goes a bit further, saying that a browser-centric OS is not the best path, as people spend most of their time on their computer not using their browser.
However is this changing? For most of my daily work, I open a browser. To read my email, I open a browser. To check the news, I open a browser. To give a product demo, I open a browser! (ok, sometimes I run a VM, and open a browser in the VM...). Even non-browser applications often will gather their data using web services (or browser APIs).
Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we're already talking to partners about the project, and we'll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.
They also say, that it is separate from Android, multi-platform, and is there to support Google's web-based applications (which will continue to work cross-platform themselves). A major change is that the minimum system required will not need Microsoft any more. However we need to see what percentage of people are happy to depart from using MS Office applications. If that happens, I can see an exodus from the MS centric home computer as a real possibility.