Google to challenge Microsoft in OS business

Microsoft (MSFT) makes a huge amount of its profit from its PC operating systems. Google (GOOG) plans to enter that business in earnest. The search company already offers certain applications for PCs that handle word-processing and spreadsheet functions. Its Android software for phones is a primitive operating system for handsets.

Google management, writing on a company blog, said it will start offering a complete operating system for low end PCs -- unwelcome news for Microsoft. The blog says "Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks." Chrome is Google's browser product. The product will take advantage of existing Linux technology. Linux is considered by many to be an open-source alternative to Windows.