Google stitches up the Dell desktop

I missed this.

Under the terms of a roughly three-year pact announced yesterday, Google will pay Dell an unspecified sum to have its browser toolbar and desktop-search software pre-installed on the company’s PCs and their homepages set to a co-branded portal site. “The real reason we do this is for users,” Google CEO Eric Schmidt said at a Goldman Sachs conference in Las Vegas. People “turn the Dell machine on, and everything is integrated right there. (This deal) is a turnkey solution for search.”

It’s a turnkey solution for Google as well, at least when it comes to wresting control of PC users’ default settings away from Microsoft. Dell shipped more than 37 million PCs and servers globally in 2005, according to research group IDC. That means Google could conceivably put its software in front of 100 million new PC owners over the life of the deal, and that’s the sort of footprint that can preserve its search dominance over Microsoft…

This seems very significant to me. Wonder why there hasn’t been more coverage of it. Or did I just miss the commentary as well as the announcement?