Following in the footsteps of Palm's WebOS (and partially the old Opera Platform (now replaced by widgets)), Google has announced the Google Chrome Operating System, which is initially aimed at netbooks, and which is basically a browser as the operating system running on top of Linux. …
Fears of too much personal data being at Google's disposal aside, this is definitely yet another step towards making traditional operating systems like Windows and Mac OS obsolete. Now, there will always be a place for local, native applications, but the trend is undeniable: More and more is being done online and over the Web.
This happens to be what Opera has been talking about for many years. There is hardly an interview with our CEO without him mentioning how Web applications are replacing traditional applications.
It should be noted that not everyone is convinced that Google is being entirely serious about this and rather using it as a kind of "decoy", but I think this is simply where we are headed.
And while Chrome OS is tied to specific platforms, Opera runs on more platforms than any other browser, which means that you won't have to be tied to any specific operating system vendor to deploy your applications across different platforms.
The way things are going must definitely be a major concern for Microsoft. At some point, non-PC devices will have more users online than the traditional Personal Computer, and that benefits everyone else. Microsoft is really struggling to gain a foothold outside the PC market.
Other browser vendors than Microsoft are now controlling what will be the main development platform of the future, and Opera is right there in the middle of it all.
The future is looking bright.