Jason Calacanis has a post with pics and rumors of the Google operating system. He thinks that Google will partner with a major PC manufacturer, such as Dell or HP, over the next year and will sell a pc that comes equipped with a google OS (that is instead of windows) at cost or slightly below (thinks $300 for a high powered pc and flat panel monitor). The revenue model would be to split the future advertising revenue generated by that pc’s owner on google’s services. This would open the door for Dell or HP to a stream of high margin, recurring revenue and Google would ensure that their ads are shown to the majority of pc users for the foreseeable future.
I think this is a really good idea, and something I’ve thought of quite a bit myself ever since I read about how much money firefox makes. Firefox gets to share revenue generated by it’s millions of users using the toolbar to search google, and then clicking on ads. This is pretty much how Dell and HP could structure a deal with a google OS.
I think there’s significant opportunity of someone really smart just going ahead and doing this overseas (China, Brazil, India, Spain, etc) with some high powered linux boxes, and a custom built linux OS that somehow ensures that the manufacturer gets not only a revenue share of google advertising dollars (just as you do when you insert a google search box on your site or as firefox does), but also embed ebay affiliate, amazon, and just about any other international affiliate out there into the system. If you can get the cost of the pc down low enough, it wouldn’t take very long to get in the black on each unit, and then everything after that is pure profit.
I think that local coffee shops should abandon their whole, let us charge you for $2 for an hour of access model, and instead get google revenue split and amazon, ebay, walmart, etc affiliate commissions for any ads their customers click on while browsing. I would imagine there would be someway to embed cookies or something on to the coffee shop browser’s computer when they agree to terms of service for the free wifi access. It seems to me that would be far more lucrative than attempting to charge $2 an hour. It’s also a win/win, which should always be the goal.