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Sony signs Google Browser Deal

Google has signed a deal with Sony to incorporate its Chrome internet browser into the Japanese technology giant's personal computers. Google has struck a distribution deal with Sony to include its Chrome web browser on all Sony Vaio laptops sold, the company's first such deal since launching the browser as a rival to Microsoft's Internet Explorer last year.

Google's well-regarded but little-used browser Chrome will come pre-installed on Sony Vaio laptops. This is the first such deal that Google has signed with a PC maker. The agreement marks Google's first distribution deal for Chrome with a hardware manufacturer and is a necessary step in its mission to take some of the sheen off Microsoft.

It launched its Chrome browser a year ago and -- in a rare move for the internet giant -- marketed the product through a number of online and television ads. Google said it plans to tie up further deals as it looks to promote the browser. User response to Google Chrome has been outstanding, and we're continuing to explore ways to make Chrome accessible to even more people.

Chrome accounts for about 2.6% of the web browser market, with about 30m active users, behind Microsoft's Internet Explorer (67.7%), Mozilla's Firefox (22.5%) and Apple's Safari (4%). Chrome lags well behind Microsoft's market-leading Internet Explorer and Mozilla Foundation's Firefox browsers in market share. Although Microsoft remains the market leader, Internet Explorer has consistently lost market share over the past year, mainly to the popular Firefox browser.

Google said it was in talks with other computer makers with a view to forming similar partnerships.

Sony said it expects to sell about 6m Vaio laptops worldwide next year. Some Sony PCs are already running Chrome as a result of the deal.

The company is also developing its Chrome operating system, which it announced earlier this year, as a rival to Microsoft's Windows, the de facto OS for most PCs.

Microsoft is currently preparing for the October launch of Window's 7, its newest OS, which has been critically acclaimed by the tech industry -- putting to rest the universally panned Window's Vista.