Sony PCs to offer Google Web browser

SAN FRANCISCO Tue Sep 1, 2009 5:04am EDT

An undated screenshot of Google's Chrome browser. REUTERS/Google/Handout

An undated screenshot of Google's Chrome browser.

Credit: Reuters/Google/Handout

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc is shipping its Chrome browser with Sony Corp PCs, sealing the Internet company's first such deal since it introduced the Web browser last year to compete with Microsoft.

The deal could expand the reach of Google's fledgling product which lags behind browsers offered by Microsoft Corp and the Mozilla foundation in market share.

Google spokesperson Eitan Bencuya said the deal with Sony went into effect this summer, but declined to discuss terms of the deal, such as which Sony PC models come pre-installed with the Chrome browser, or any financial terms.

Google said the company was now exploring ways to make Chrome accessible to more people.

"We are in the process of testing one such channel with Sony," according to a statement.

The deal with Sony was first reported by the Financial Times. Sony trails PC giants like Hewlett-Packard Company and Dell Inc, and did not rank among the top five PC vendors by worldwide shipments in the second quarter, according to research firm IDC.

But Bencuya said Google was looking at striking similar deals with other PC makers.

Google introduced the Chrome browser in September 2008 and remains a distant number four player in the browser market, with a 2.59 percent worldwide share in July according to market research firm Net Applications.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer dominates the browser market with 67.7 percent market share, followed by the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox, with 22.5 percent, and Apple Inc's Safari, with 4 percent.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; editing by Carol Bishopric)

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