Skip to comments.Is the Chromebook a Threat to Microsoft's OS Domination?
Posted on 12/31/2013 6:54:20 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Despite the ongoing slump of PC sales, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) recently received news that gave it reason to celebrate. At the beginning of December, the market share for its Windows 8.1 update had increased to the point that it edged Apple's OS X Mavericks out of the top five installed operating systems; this left only Windows products in the list (which also includes Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Vista.) While it's true that Windows 8.1 only reported 2.6% of the installed market, when the rollout for Windows 8 and 8.1 has had as many problems as Microsoft has seen, even little victories are worth celebrating.
The OS data, compiled by Net Applications, lists two versions of OS X beneath Windows 8.1, as well as a catch-all category labeled "Other." It's this latter category that contains your various versions of Linux, FreeBSD, and other operating systems that you might reasonably see installed on a desktop or laptop computer. One of these "other" systems is starting to make a splash, however, and in time may make a strong enough showing to rate its own listing in the results.
Enter the Chromebook
Last year, Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG ) Chromebook barely moved the needle when it came to sales; according to tracking data from the NDP Group, the 400,000 Chromebooks sold in 2012 only accounted for a negligible share of notebook computers sold during the year. Jump forward to 2013, and the 1.76 million Chromebooks sold between January and November accounted for an impressive 21% of all notebook sales tracked by NDP.
Of course, it's important to point out that this increase was only seen within the transactions that NDP tracked and that the company didn't track every notebook, tablet, and computer sale that occurred in either year. According to NDP's data, a total of 14.4 million combined sales of notebooks, tablets, and other computers was tracked through commercial outlets in the United States during the year. While you can still extrapolate a lot of data from these figures, it's important not to jump on the bandwagon and assume that the 21% figure represents global sales or includes every transaction made in 2013.
Microsoft on the offensive
Not content to wait and see how much of a threat the Chromebooks eventually pose, Microsoft has doubled down on its anti-Google "Don't Get Scroogled" campaign. The new campaign push highlights reasons consumers might regret buying a Chromebook, including the need for an Internet connection for all features to work and the fact that "favorite" Windows programs won't run on the notebooks. (Of course, some might argue that this last reason is part of the point of the Chromebook ... an easy-to-use way for people to break away from the Windows environment.)
Microsoft's previous "Scroogled" campaigns were met with moderate success. Approximately 54% of individuals surveyed after seeing the Google Search "Scroogled" ads correctly identified Google as the target and said they would consider Bing as an alternative. The Gmail "Scroogled" campaign was accompanied by a petition that to date has amassed over 150,000 signatures (though one should always wonder just where some of the traffic comes from with popular online petitions.)
It remains to be seen just how effective the current "Scroogled" campaign will be, but it's possible that it will have an influence on at least a portion of comsumers who are on the fence about buying a Chromebook. Given Microsoft's cross-promotion of partners' laptops "starting at $249" on Scroogled.com, it may even help a few budget-conscious consumers to buy a new Windows notebook instead.
The bottom line
Chromebooks are growing in popularity, especially among people who have easy access to the Internet and who already use a number of Google products (since it doesn't matter if the notebook can install Office if the user prefers Google Docs anyway.) They still fall in the "other" category when tracking OS usage, but if their popularity continues to grow, it's possible that Chrome OS could become a major contender a few years down the road.
Before this happens, however, Microsoft (and to a lesser extent, Apple) is going to pull out all of the stops to downplay the Chromebook and make it seem undesirable to those who want a "real" notebook. While it's doubtful that Microsoft's efforts will have a major impact on Chromebook sales, there's a very real possibility that at least some consumers could be swayed by Microsoft's (rather one-sided) talking points.
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I say umm no...
I own a chromebook.. I am still trying to figure out why. I *never* use it.
I’m thinking Linux becomes a threat to Microsoft at some point, but that may never happen.
Just saying however.
I just obtained a Window’s 8.1 computer and I love it.
The thing is, I use it with Linux.
RE: I own a chromebook.. I am still trying to figure out why. I *never* use it.
So, why’d you buy it in the first place? Don’t they have a manual? a User’s guide? And how much is it?
I have a Chromebook. I am writing this on it now. Of course, it is running Ubuntu 12.04 and not Chrome.
I was initially impressed with the chromebook. It starts in a few seconds. If you use google’s services, it is integrated with them. Those are it’s strengths.
The weaknesses are legion. Without an internet connection it is a brick. There is very little it can do without that internet connection. Google Docs is a toy and not even 1/3 as capable as Libre Office, let alone Word.
The program selection in the store is more limited that the Ubuntu store and the lack of usable programs for anything other than google services make this an extreme drawback.
The chromebook I have replaced a netbook from 2011, and this chromebook (while faster) is no where near as capable as a three year old netbook running a limited intel atom processor.
Then there is my growing concern with google’s monitoring. With a chromebook, everything you do is under google’s all seeing eye. I find it hard to imagine companies issuing these to workers to use with sensitive information.
The Chromebook might be fine for a student at university but not for productivity. These are a niche product and likely no threat to MS. Not in their present form. Perhaps if they turn this into a real linux build that can be used offline as well.
I never used the Chrome browser until yesterday, I had to watch refresher tax prep stuff. The provider warned it wouldn’t work in explorer 11, and I couldn’t get it to work on Firefox either (which I usually use). I didn’t want to uninstall the explorer, so I tried Chrome and it worked fine. Thank goodness!
There is one linux system that could be a danger to Microsoft and Sony, that’s the Steam Machine (Box).
I’m definitely holding off purchasing an XBox One or PS4 for now. I own a lot of games on Steam so I’m waiting to see how Steam moves support for Linux. If they can pull it off next year, I’ll definitely build my own gaming machine and install Steam OS. I prefer PC games anyways.
Chromebooks suck. Doesn’t matter which manufacturer.
Yes. They will do email and web browsing. Also some other, extremely, light app work ala YouTube or presentations.
All of it is tracked. None of it works beyond the basics. Management tools are a joke.
You’d be better off with ANY of the tablets available than a Chromebook.
My Niece got an HP Chromebook for Christmas. Was pretty much crushed when I told her Minecraft, and most of her other apps/games, wouldn’t play on it unless we did some serious hacking on it in Dev-mode.
We’ve also deployed the Samsung Chromebooks here at work. Logging 30-40 students in all at the same time creates a huge bottleneck on my wireless and the students/staff are seriously underimpressed with the apps available.
I have 150 of these things that were purchased against my recommendation that I now have to manage...
A different tack than most postings here: Years ago The Motley Fool site was kind of cool, funny and marginally useful. They have in recent years turned into a waste of electrons. They have article after article that bash Microsoft (or other well known companies) with sensation headlines to try to grab hits on their site. This particular article is a good example.
I’m writing on a Samsung Chromebook right now. It’s not the end-all, do-all computer, that’s for sure, but it sure meets my needs. I primarily use it when I go on the road or the other computers in the house are busy. I use it to check my favorite internet sites, to check my email and play some angry birds. Being that it was only $170, I found it to be a steal. If it gets broken, no big deal.
If you are looking for doing more stuff without the internet, though, I would get something else.
I picked up an Asus MeMo tablet for my Wife for Christmas. It does more than your Chromebook and cost $50 less.
Just the latest of many pendulum swings over the past few decades between distributed computing (power to the people) vs. centralized computing (power to the IT nazis). A chromebook is little more than a modern web-based equivalent of the dumb terminal that required a central mainframe to provide any and all value.
It was part of a lot I bought.. it was nice on our trip with Verizon wireless built in but for work its bascially useless. If you can’t do what you need to in the chrome web browser you are screwed.
Its a Samsung series 5 I have both the wall and car charger for it. I guess I could sell it if the offer is right.
Actually, Microsoft is Microsoft’s biggest threat to Microsoft.
Also worth noting is that Chromebooks DO NOT get viruses. (Well I suppose they could, but you would have to work at it to get one.)
Linux will become a powerhouse once gaming gets bigger on it. Steam is pushing for Linux support. All we need now are the big publishers and gaming studios to adopt it on a wider basis.
I run windows on all of my systems here at the house. I like windows 8 but admit it is far from perfect. If all my games ran in Linux, I would gladly walk away from Microsoft.
Nice! I’ll keep that in mind when this thing croaks.
I’m not getting the Chromebook hate here. I guess I simply don’t have a need for desktop applications in this format.
When I sat down and really considered my non-work usage, it was obvious that 97% of my time was doing email, browsing, posting, and playing Bejeweled.
Personally, if my wifi is down, everything is down at my house because it means that something huge has happened. This is why I keep my landline. This hardly ever happens.
I try to limit my non-work screen time so I don’t need new ways to do work at home or new Internet hobbies.
I don’t even own a smartphone because I don’t need more screen time in my life.
My Chromebooks (yes, I have two in addition to a desktop) start up instantly, never get infected with anything, have long battery times, are crazy portable (well, the little one is), and update constantly in the background.
I know Google is Evil but the NSA seemingly has access to everything online anyway which is why I do lunch.