There are threats, and then there are Chromebooks. According to the newest numbers from NPD research, Chromebooks made up some 21 percent of all commercial laptop sales in the United States.

One of the biggest reasons for this high a figure is the very affordable price tag of these devices.

And consequently, one of the biggest reasons why this figure is not higher is because of the simple fact that these laptops could not run traditional Windows software — up until now, that is.

Google has just announced that it is partnering up with virtualization software firm VMWare in an effort to bring Windows applications to Chromebooks. The timing of this move is rather interesting, what with the looming retirement of Windows XP.

The company has this to say on the matter:

“Today, customers can fully embrace the cloud with Chromebooks using VMware Horizon DaaS. VMware and Google are working together to make the migration of legacy applications even easier, by using the HTML5/Blast experience from Chromebook.

This means you can work with Chromebooks and connect to a Windows experience running VMWare™ Horizon View.”

This also means that Windows laptops will face increased pressure, at least at the lower end, and particularly in the enterprise market. Cost is always an important consideration for companies.

In fact, the search engine giant has called up on Windows XP users, people that are still running the operating system that will be officially retired in April, to pick Chromebooks as an affordable alternative to continue to do their work, safely and securely.

Microsoft may not consider Chromebooks as real laptops, judging by its recent Scroogled advertising campaign, but the company can ill afford to give these devices a leeway in the educational and enterprise sector.

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  • Rodney Longoria

    Sounds like a lawsuit in the making to me…

    • Fahad Ali

      They’ll probably get away with this.

  • shinsenai

    This is rather misleading. Chromebooks cannot run Windows applications, VMWare HV gives access to cloud-based remote Windows desktop pools (“connect to a Windows experience”). Good luck doing that when you are on the run with your Chromebook laptop. Also it may work for enterprises, but not for private users (what do you connect to, a Google-managed Windows desktop farm?) And how does it solve the Windows XP migration issue? Do I replace all my existing XP desktops with an on-demand XP VM? If XP is not secure or supported, it doesn’t matter if it is physical or virtual. Can someone explain to me how that would work?

    • Fahad Ali

      True, seems to be more like an enterprise thing. Then again, Chromebooks have more of a standing in educational and business. Personal experience? I am yet to meet a Chromebook user up until this writing.

  • WillyThePooh

    Chromebook is a pretty low end product. Running virtual machine on a low end product is not going to be a pleasant experience. Besides, it may also have a lot of compatibility issues.

    • Fahad Ali

      Compatibility issues can be refined with time, but agree about the fact that the experience may not be worth it in terms of performance. Even I’ve encountered occasional hiccups when emulating Windows XP on a fairly beefy computer.

  • Ray C

    Sounds like more misleading on the part of Google

    • Fahad Ali

      Well they seem to be going after Windows XP users, for the most part.