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Google denies plan to enter dying, low-margin PC biz

Will focus on easy money for now

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Google has quashed a rumor that it plans to enter the ultra low-margin PC business. The denial will surprise few given the speculative nature of the original LA Times piece that made the Google PC claim.

In a 2006 technology predictions story, the Times declared, "Sources say Google has been in negotiations with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., among other retailers, to sell a Google PC. The machine would run an operating system created by Google, not Microsoft's Windows, which is one reason it would be so cheap — perhaps as little as a couple of hundred dollars."

Er, not so fast.

Reporters calling Google's public relations staff about the rumor were told it is "wholly inaccurate." Similarly, Wal-Mart's rather busy PR team classified the Times speculation as "a rumor without any truth to it at all."

And why would a high-flyer like Google want to enter the death match that is the PC industry? Slugging it out with the likes of Dell and HP for a few dollars doesn't seem appealing when you've got a high-margin ad business humming.

Beyond that, the world doesn't need another mediocre version of desktop Linux, even if it's adorned with colored balls.

Wal-Mart used to sell a ton of Linux-based PCs with versions of the operating system from Sun Microsystems, Mandrake, LindowsOS and Lycoris. We can only find a couple of Linspire Linux PCs for sale anymore though, which leads us to believe this market didn't quite pan out for the mightiest retailer in the world.

Away from the software, Google would add little value to a PC, especially if it adopted the same design model for the computers that it has with in-house servers. Few would pay for a mass of cables coming off an exposed motherboard.

Every Google rumor these days demands a huge amount of ink from an all-too-happy to glorify press. Any gossip with an anti-Microsoft angle is particularly embraced.

Let's relax a bit, friends. A smidgen of practical thinking would be a huge help. ®

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