Microsoft mystery announcement next week prompted Chrome announcement

Omnipresent Net personality Robert Scoble made his name working for Microsoft as a blogger. So it’s credible when Scoble claims that “Microsoft has a big announcement coming on Monday (I’m embargoed).” Google’s Chrome OS announcement did seem a bit odd, in a why-are-they-announcing-this-now sort of way. Let’s see if Microsoft can keep its secret until Monday.

Business Week has an inkling of this as well. In the June 24 cover story on Steve Ballmer and Office 2010 by Peter Burrows, the magazine noted that Microsoft would offer details about its plans related to Office 2010, which will have many web-based functions similar to Google Docs, on July 13. Office 2010 will also have a free, ad-supported version that competes head-on with Google Docs. Microsoft is also said to be working on Gazelle, a Chrome-like web browser. That combination of things means that Microsoft may also be able to do its own stripped-down operating system, if there is demand for it on netbooks. By the time the Chrome OS is ready in the second half of 2010, Microsoft may be there with its own competing software.

Microsoft has a conference in New Orleans next week where the announcement will take place.

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