Google is stepping up its efforts to nab some additional browser market share from leader Internet Explorer and second-placed Firefox. As promised earlier this year, the company has now formalized and revealed an agreement that will see Chrome pre-installed on all Sony Vaio-brand laptops sold in the U.S.
Although specific terms of the deal are not being disclosed, it probably includes some form of search advertising revenue sharing between the two. Google says it is actively pursuing other manufacturers to try and get its browser included on more machines. Indeed, OEM deals may be a key tool in the next generation of browser wars -- and Google is one of the few companies with the financial strength to pick off Microsoft.
The company even has plans to develop its own operating system, which is aimed primarily at low-power machines and netbooks, and will act as an access point for its web-based services.
The deal is not expected to include European markets. With the advent of Windows 7, Microsoft has already announced plans to introduce a web browser ballot screen for all current Windows versions in that region, giving users a choice of which software to use. Nevertheless, the move marks an important development for Chrome a year after it was first launched. Currently, Google's browser has around 30 million active users or around 2-3 percent of the global market, making it the fourth most-popular browser after Apple's Safari.