CERNOBBIO, Italy (Reuters) - Google Inc’s (GOOG.O) Web browser Chrome has had a “very strong” reception since its launch this week, with several million downloads, Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt told Reuters on Friday.
Chrome is the U.S. Internet search engine’s head-on challenge to market leader Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) Internet Explorer. Google says Chrome lets users run many applications that once worked only when installed on a local personal computer.
“The initial reaction has been very strong (with) many, many millions of downloads, (a) very favorable response so far,” Schmidt said on the sidelines of an economic conference at Lake Como in northern Italy.
He said it was too early to say what share Google might get in the browser market, now three quarters held by Internet Explorer.
“We did not build it with a market share goal. We built it to try to move the industry forward with some new concepts around browsers and security and powerful platforms,” Schmidt said. “So we hope that it will influence the design of other browsers to make them more modern.”
Chrome has been designed to download software and Web pages faster than existing browsers and even lets users keep working when one of its windows crashes. <ID:nNQ2434441>
Schmidt also said he was optimistic about the outcome of a U.S. Justice Department antitrust inquiry into a search-advertising partnership with Yahoo Inc YHOO.O.
The deal has raised concerns that it will give Google too much power in the $65 billion online advertising market. The deal was announced in June but the implementation is delayed until the “end of September (or) early October”, Schmidt said.
“We designed the deal in such a way that it was non-exclusive, text ads only, and it does not in any way prohibit Yahoo from working with other partners, competitors or whatnot,” he said.
“We think that fully meets the appropriateness and also the legal requirements in the United States. And I should mention that the deal is U.S. only.”
Schmidt said he had had no signals about the outcome of the inquiry.
He also declined to comment on a report in the Wall Street Journal last month that Google was nearing a wide-ranging partnership with U.S. mobile phone company Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ.N).
Editing by David Holmes