Can Google Steal Microsoft's Windows XP Upgraders -- In the Office Space?

Google just launched a big Chromebook discount program for business-class buyers. Can Chromebooks derail Microsoft's Windows 8 upgrade plans?

Apr 9, 2014 at 8:00PM

A Chromebook running office-style productivity tools. Image source: Google.

Here we go. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) won't walk away from the end of the Windows XP era unscathed -- at least not if Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has a say in it. And Google has enlisted longtime Microsoft partners Citrix Systems (NASDAQ:CTXS) and VMware (NYSE:VMW) to help with the heavy lifting.

Yesterday was the last day of official XP support, with the final round of security updates for the 13-year-old platform. It was also the start of a big discount program on Google Chromebook computers, aimed specifically at the enterprise market.


Say goodbye to Windows XP.

The promotion makes sense because Windows XP is not exclusively tied to Luddites and tech-averse grandmas who just don't need anything fancier for their basic email and Web browsing needs. Many enterprise environments are handcuffed to XP, sometimes even locked down to the long-since unsupported Internet Explorer 6 browser that shipped with the original Windows XP. Business applications have been built to depend on quirks and bugs unique to the platform, and many others simply never got tested and qualified to run on anything else.

But now, it's high time to update those graybeard applications, qualify their functionality on modern platforms, and leave XP behind.


This is what Microsoft would like you to install instead.

Microsoft would love for IT managers to simply adopt a newer Windows version, and ideally Windows 8.1, which got a mandatory set of security and feature updates yesterday. I'm told that the new version moves away from the hard-nosed touchscreen focus a little bit, making it more familiar and usable for people with many years of XP-style experience. This could be a huge upgrade moment in the history of Windows.

But, like I said, Google won't let Microsoft have all the fun.

"It's time for a real change, rather than more of the same," Google says, complete with a link to Microsoft's Windows 8 upgrade program. Big G now offers $100 off each Chromebook system that's bought through the company's sales channels for business-class customers.

Google didn't forget about the need to run legacy Windows applications, which you cannot do on a plain Chromebook and its Linux-based innards. The discount jumps to $200 for Chromebooks with VMware's Horizon Desktop as a Service (also known as DaaS) pre-installed. Or, you can get a 25% discount on Citrix Systems' XenApp DaaS solution, which works out to roughly $50 per system.


...but Google has another option in mind. Image source: Google.

VMware and Citrix are happy to support this sale, because a significant non-Windows business platform would be good for their Windows-based desktop and app-sharing solutions. Doesn't really matter if it's Google's systems that break through, or some other desktop and laptop player with a big appetite. It could even be a neutered, low-cost Windows platform for all Citrix and VMware care. The key is to have low-powered systems in the hands of large business-class populations, with a need to deliver Windows-based apps to them. And Chromebooks fit that bill.

Now, it wouldn't make sense for consumers to buy Chromebooks via Google's enterprise program. There's a $150 fee for each computer to cover a centralized management system, which gives IT managers a way to manage lots and lots of Chromebooks in one simple interface. But it costs $50 more than the $100 discount, and really doesn't do much for one or two computers in private use.

So this promotion is strictly for business buyers. If there's a consumer-level discount program up Google's sleeve, the company hasn't cracked its poker face yet. Stay tuned.

If it's time to update your systems anyway, then why not jump to a totally different platform standard? It remains to be seen whether Google Chromebooks can carve out a significant space in the business sector. But you can't win the lottery without buying a ticket. On that note, this opportunistic promotion might give Google a foot in the door to Microsoft's most cherished market -- the business world.

Are you ready to profit from this $14.4 trillion revolution?
Office software is a big deal, but hardly the only game-changing growth opportunity on the table. Let's face it, every investor wants to get in on revolutionary ideas before they hit it big. Like buying PC-maker Dell in the late 1980s, before the consumer computing boom. The problem is, most investors don't understand the key to investing in hyper-growth markets. The real trick is to find a small-cap "pure-play," and then watch as it grows in EXPLOSIVE lockstep with its industry. Our expert team of equity analysts has identified one stock that's poised to produce rocket-ship returns with the next $14.4 TRILLION industry. Click here to get the full story in this eye-opening report.

Anders Bylund owns shares of Google (A and C shares). The Motley Fool recommends Google (A and C shares), and VMware. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google (A and C shares), Microsoft, and VMware. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers