Google lifted the veil on its chrome laptop Wednesday and also launched a somewhat Quixotic initiative to dent Microsoft’s dominance in the enterprise with a program that provides software, laptops and support for $28 per month per user.
As Apple continues to make modest advances in the office now Google wants a piece of the action and is offering up an IT-displacing idea that seeks to emphasize peace of mind as much as it does price.
The idea is simple. Businesses spend a lot of money on IT support, hardware and software — the core of which is commodity computers running a flavor of Windows OS and Microsoft Office. They hold on to computers as long as they can both for reasons of cost and to simplify support, which generally is provided locally through the IT department.
Google’s alternative provides small, standardized laptops from Samsung and Acer running its Chrome OS, which debuted in December. The new Chromebooks, as Google dubbed them, are fully web-based — both programs and storage is “in the cloud.” Users have access to use a wide range of productivity software, like Google Docs, Salesforce CRM and photo editing software, with no installation or and upgrades automatically performed in the background. Google provides all support, including repair and replacements.
Google has made less ambitious plays for the enterprise before. It’s first attempt the paid version of Google Docs, has had some success with smaller businesses, but hasn’t turned into a significant revenue source for Google. And, given its Nexus One past, Google it isn’t exactly known for its customer service.
But diversification is seen as key for the search giant, since its core advertising products are still responsible for more than 90 percent of its revenue. So we see a push into the mobile space with Android — a direct blow at Apple’s smartphone and tablet business — and a challenge to Microsoft in its workplace wheelhouse.