Well, I will. Despite all the new features and shape-shifting updates, Google is constantly cooking for its Chrome OS platform, the most revealing Chromebook change of the year doesn’t even come from the walls of Google.
In fact, it comes from one of Google’s biggest and fiercest competitors – a company that would very much like to see Chromebooks fade and fade.
Don’t you just love inadvertent irony?
The change we’re talking about stems from a recent Microsoft announcement: yes, Microsoft! – and technically it has nothing to do with Chrome OS, not even. In fact, in the midst of all the talk about what change means for Microsoft and its Windows world, I haven’t seen anyone mention the potential meaning here in the land of Chrome OS computers.
But wow, you better believe this could make a monumental difference to Chromebooks and the land mammals that use them. And more than likely in a very Good way.
Let me go back a second and explain. Last week, Microsoft sleepless a new program for PC with Windows 365 Cloud. Simply put, it is a version of Windows that runs entirely in the cloud and therefore can be used on more or less any computer (or even mobile device). Using it is similar to using your own personal Windows desktop, with all your apps, data, and settings intact, only it works and is available on any old screen where you open it in a browser.
That means Microsoft could let people other Businesses buy cheap terminal-like laptops, somewhat like the original Chromebooks, in the early days of Chrome OS, without any of the resource requirements normally needed for a decent Windows experience. In a sense, that could make this a way for Microsoft to better compete with Google when it comes to delivering a simple, affordable, hardware-independent computing experience where you can switch from device to device without losing anything or having to do it. deal with time-consuming installation processes.
Peachy, right? Of course. But in the twist that most people haven’t chewed on, it might so means you’ll have a new universally available and exceptionally easy-to-implement option for running Windows on a Chromebook – and thus access all types of traditional desktop programs that are not normally available in the Chrome OS environment.
Now, for most average Homo sapiens who carry a Chrome OS device with them, this probably won’t make the slightest difference. Chrome OS has become incredibly capable on its own over the years, thanks to Google’s ongoing efforts to develop the platform and expand the types of applications it supports.
But there’s one exception, and it’s especially annoying in the land of the cash-oozing enterprise, where Google would love to see Chrome OS make further advancements: Businesses frequently have super-specific traditional PC tools they rely on for the day. a day. -Workday. Whether it’s advanced graphical utilities or custom desktop management systems, there’s no shortage of “legacy apps” that don’t yet operate in the Chrome OS web / Android / Linux app-centric realm.
You see where this is going?
Microsoft, in a way, simply addressed that void and made Chromebooks viable for a whole new audience of potential users: people who were to close to be able to get by with the cloud-centric approach of the Chrome OS, but still had some lingering traditional desktop needs. Now those kinds of humans can carry Chromebooks and get 95% of what they need within that fast, simple, low-maintenance, high-security environment. And when they need one of their legacy programs, by God, they can open Windows in the browser and access it right away.
It will be the best of both worlds, in other words: all the benefits of a Chromebook combined with the on-demand capabilities of a traditional Windows system.
Now, just to be clear, this type of setup is not technically new. Hell, even Google itself started offering a way to install a virtual Windows desktop on a Chromebook and enjoy that best of both worlds benefit last year. But hey, a few things: Despite its official support from Google, that system relies on a third-party partnership (with a company called Parallels). It’s expensive, at $ 70 per user per year. And it is also quite out of sight. I mean really: how many people realize it’s an option?
Microsoft’s offering, on the other hand, comes straight from the Windows mecca, a company most companies are used to thinking about and working with in technology. While the full pricing picture is not yet apparent, It seems It will start as low as $ 31 per person per month, a pretty substantial difference from that $ 70 figure. And it will be a seemingly simple part of any existing Microsoft business deal, with no direct connection to any specific device. A company sets the plan, puts the experience in motion, and then can allow its worker bees to buzz around their virtual Windows honey hives from any computer, at any time.
Like Google’s Windows-on-Chrome-OS provision, it removes the remaining asterisks on why a Chromebook might not be viable for a given situation. It erases the remaining limitations of the platform, especially at the enterprise level, and completes the evolution of Chrome OS towards the true “everything” platform: a place where you can run all kinds of web-centric applications alongside Android applications, applications Linux and now even Windows applications without even thinking about the underlying origins of the programs. And it makes that option easier than ever.
As I said when Google first addressed this area with its Parallels partnership program:
[A Chromebook will now] run just about anything imaginable, including company-specific holdouts, in a low-cost, low-maintenance, low-security-risk environment designed for large-scale management.
For companies, that means that the intriguing option that they may have considered, but could not fully justify before, will suddenly become viable. For Google, that means the lucrative enterprise market it has been trying to break into with Chrome OS will suddenly be achievable. And for regular individual Chromebook users, it means the platform could suddenly start to see a huge new injection of large-scale interest, which has the potential to seep in and lead to greater diversity of hardware and software development across all markets. areas.
Now all of that is about to happen on an even broader scale, with Microsoft itself acting as the official (and highly visible) vendor. Remember my words: this could be absolutely monumental for Chrome OS and its growth in the company, especially if Google accepts the move and finds a way to position it correctly.
However, most fascinating of all is the fact that this could be equally beneficial to Microsoft. Microsoft, after all, has been in the midst of a shift to a subscription and service-based business for many months, and when you really stop and think about it, you get people to to pay using Windows and having a Chromebook at the same time is a pretty brilliant plan. Microsoft has indeed found a loophole that allows it to build a lucrative business in addition to the success of Google’s Chromebook rather than trying to deal with it.
From several levels, this really could be the biggest and most significant change coming to Chrome OS this year, or maybe even ever. Once again the lines blur and the worlds collide. And for those of us who actually use these devices and the ecosystems that surround them, my goodness, it’s always a fascinating new set of possibilities to ponder.
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