Today, search-engine giant Google will all but declare war on Apple and Microsoft.
At the computer industry's largest trade show going on right now in Las Vegas, ABC News has learned that Google co-founder Larry Page will roll the dice and announce two huge developments. One takes a direct shot at Apple's iTunes: Google will begin to sell videos from the National Basketball Association, CBS and other major content providers, as first reported Thursday in The Wall Street Journal.
The other: "Google Pack," a new downloadable bundle of software that includes Google Maps but also RealVideo and antivirus software, will compete with industry giant Microsoft.
Some critics wonder if Google is getting too big for its britches. But perhaps feeling Google's breath on its neck, Apple alerted iTunes subscribers Thursday that all four College Bowl games from ABC Sports were available for downloading and viewing on the video iPod, in addition to shows like ABC's "Lost," NBC's ubiquitous "Law & Order," Pixar short animated films, music videos and other video content.
In the long run, Google seems to be planning no less than world domination -- at least in computers. Google has helped fund an MIT project to make a full, working self-contained laptop computer for $100. There is plenty of other speculation about what Google might try next. Bear Stearns analyst Robert Peck mused last month about a Google device that "could form a mini-mesh home network," including connections "from the Web to your TV and enable the transfer of video downloads from the computer to the TV."
All this news has indeed had the added benefit of pumping up Google's stock, which finished trading today at more than $451 a share, up $6 from Wednesday's close.