Microsoft Windows 8 is a dramatic change for many users with its new Start UI and a push away from the traditional desktop. While some of us love it, not everyone feels that way.
Although it may take time for Microsoft to really win over consumers towards its vision of the future, they also have to worry about outside competition using Microsoft’s “slow start” as a way to boost their own ends.
In the desktop world, I’m talking about Chrome OS. While not everyone likes the idea of a cloud-reliant computing experience, the low-cost pricing of the Chromebook makes it a useful Windows alternative for folks that spend most of their laptop time connected to the net.
This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned Chrome OS on this site, with good reason. Should Microsoft be worried be continued growth to the cloud computing OS? I would say no in the long-term, but in the short-term they should at least pay attention to what’s going on in the Chrome OS world and work towards winning back the low end market.
Acer and Chrome OS
Acer’s CEO JT Wong hasn’t exactly shown major love for Microsoft recently, specifically because of the Surface. Now the CEO has come out to say they have seen a 28% drop in PC shipments for the 4th quarter of 2012 compared to the year before. Wong adds, “Windows 8 itself is still not successful… The whole market didn’t come back to growth after the Windows 8 launch, that’s a simple way to judge if it is successful or not.”
Next, Wong stated that its Chromebook efforts have seen strong success though, with Chrome OS now taking somewhere between 5-10% of its Acer notebook shipments in the States. Wong further says, “You saw that all the marketing and promotions were not as broad as Windows 8, so to reach this success is encouraging.” In other words, Wong feels that Chrome OS is seeing solid growth and is doing well even with limited advertising.
HP and Chrome OS
It’s also worth noting that today is the day that the HP Pavilion Chromebook has been leaked to the net through a specification sheet directly on HP’s website. The upcoming low-end device has a 1.1GHz Celeron processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB SSD, 4 hour battery life and a 14-inch display.
HP is the fourth vendor to join up with Google Chrome OS, following closely behind Lenovo. Lenovo and HP are both major partners for Microsoft, so this is something that Microsoft needs to address.
Winning Back the Lower End Market
The bottom-line is that Chrome OS seems to be appealing towards the “lower-end” market that just wants and needs cheap, easy hardware that gets the job done without tons of bells and whistles. This is a crowd that Microsoft seems to have abandoned recently, phasing out netbooks to focus on ultrabooks and high-costing tablets.
Microsoft needs some budget notebooks and low-cost tablets if they want to stop Google from further expanding into the low-end market. Again, that’s just my opinion. Ultimately, I don’t think that Microsoft has much to fear from Google’s Chrome OS (and least not in its current form), but marketshare lost is still marketshare lost.
What do you think, does Chrome OS at all pose a threat to Microsoft and Windows 8?