A breathless report from ZDnet's cadre of "reliable sources" says that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) will bundle its Chrome browser -- and the Chrome operating system that has the browser at its core -- with Adobe Systems (Nasdaq: ADBE) flagship product Flash. Other observers took a look at the recently updated source code for a version of Google's open-source Chromium browser and came away with the conclusion that Flash support will indeed be built right into the browser soon enough -- no need for clumsy and unreliable third-party plug-in programs!
That's great to hear, as I'm currently running Chrome with Flash disabled. The darn thing crashed my browser too often, and will now only run on my explicit command. If Google integrates Flash functionality into the browser itself, it stands to reason that this cleaner and simpler solution makes Chrome a better browser -- more reliable than before but without sacrificing functionality.
But Google's motives aren't what you might think. Some call this a direct attack on Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), which is pushing HTML5 programming over Flash and refuses to include Flash support at all on the iPhone and iPad platforms. Well, phooey. If built-in Flash is an attack on anybody, it would be against Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT). The Chrome browser was never intended to become the world's favorite browser -- it exists to push the envelope and force every browser to improve or die. That's exactly what Flash integration would accomplish, and market leader Internet Explorer from Microsoft would have to make some kind of move to stay current.
A rising tide of security lifts all online boats, where no vessel is larger or benefits more than The Good Ship M/S Google. Better browsers means happier end-users, which leads to more browsing and more clicks on revenue-generating advertising links. It's a branch of the same strategy that makes the Android mobile phone platform a winner even if Apple or Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) sells more phones: anything Android does better will soon be copied elsewhere enabling a better browsing experience and result in -- you got it! -- more advertising clicks.
So, congrats to Google for getting Adobe on board and to Adobe for one-upping Apple in an unexpected fashion. But whatever Adobe's goals are, Google really doesn't care to kill Apple in any way, shape, or form.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. He would never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Apple and Adobe Systems are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.