Some Forrester perspectives; see the full post for more analysis
The surprising part of the announcement of Chrome is the question it raises around Google’s investment in Mozilla and the open source browser Firefox. According to a recent Forrester survey, Firefox now has nearly 20 percent of the browser market and is the closest competitor to Microsoft. While many are scratching their heads at why Google would look to compete with itself, the likely scenario is that Firefox and Chrome can work together to erode Microsoft’s browser market share. Firefox, with 200 million users, has already been appealing to the tech set as the open source alternative for the anti-Microsoft crowd. The Chrome browser can take advantage of Google’s greater brand recognition, can leverage Google’s presence as a search tool to increase awareness of Chrome, and it can evolve to suit Google’s vision of the desktop experience and differentiate itself from the current browser paradigm. It’s not just anti-Microsoft and open source, it’s what Google is calling the “modern” browser, built from scratch without the baggage of past.
I suspect this is a bit generous, overall; I expect there will be extensive debate in the open source community about whether the world needs another open source multi-platform browser client, and that many people will believe Google Chrome will deeply damage Firefox market momentum