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The New Paradigm on the Desktop

Anyone who has an inflated ego should just spend more time as an amateur prophet in the business world, politics, or any place actually. That said, Google's Chromebook seems more portentous than anything we've seen in the computer industry for years. I am willing to believe that, five to ten years from now, Washington state politicians will be frantically patching up a government bailout of Microsoft Corp., which will then be called Government Software. The future might be as dark for anti-virus firms like Symantec, or for regular PC manufacturers like Toshiba, Dell, and HP.

In order for Google's Chromebook to supplant Microsoft Windows and Office as the desktop standard, there must be an enormous expansion in internet traffic. So the biggest beneficiary of the new paradigm might be the telecommunications industry.

If Chromebooks use ARM microprocessors instead of Intel's X86 chips, Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments will be big winners in terms of revenue, although ARM suppliers like Samsung will make it a low profit margin business.

Perhaps the biggest losers will be corporate IT (information technology) departments. Good riddance, I say. IT departments are unpopular with most departments in a corporation. It's too bad that schadenfreude isn't a stock that one can invest in.

Google will make money because of service subscriptions and advertising. But do corporations want their employees wasting time by looking at Google ads on their desktop Chromebooks? Perhaps Google will offer corporations shielding from ads, in order to sucker them into the Chromebook future. But Google won't offer ad-blocking capabilities to individuals who buy Chromebooks at the retail level.

Ahh dear, these really are the Best of Times and the Worst of Times in the computer world. For years I've wanted laptops free of spinning hard drives (which crash in a few years, forcing you to discard an otherwise good computer), instant startup times, low weight, good battery life, etc. ARM-based Chromebooks might offer all that. But will it really be a victory if we are forced to watch ads as relentless, obtrusive, and annoying as boob toob commercials?