Google has no plan for its own Web browser

Google Inc. has no plans to build its own Web browser software to compete with rival Microsoft Corp., Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said on Wednesday.

During a conference call with Wall Street analysts, Schmidt dismissed speculation that the company aimed to tie together its Web search and other services to compete with Microsoft's Internet Explorer, the world's dominant Web browser.

"It looks like people have some good browser choices already," Schmidt said. "We would not build a browser for the fun of building a browser," he added.

Google encourages its customers to use a variety of alternatives to Internet Explorer, particularly the open-source Firefox browser.

It also has partnerships to encourage the use of the Safari browser among Apple Computer Inc. customers, Norway's Opera Software ASA, which makes browsers for computers and phones, among several other browser alternatives, he said.

However, Schmidt left the door open to developing a browser if it saw some clear utility to users that was not otherwise being met in the market. "We would only do something ... if we thought there was a real end-user benefit," he said.

The Google executive has consistently downplayed questions about its ambitions to develop its own browser software by saying that the underlying assumption is that Google is taking up the battle that Web browser pioneer Netscape Communications Corp. lost to Microsoft during the 1990s.

Schmidt argues that the landscape of the computer industry has been changed by the dynamics of Web search advertising and the decade-old "battle for the desktop" waged by Microsoft and its competitors is quickly becoming less relevant.

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