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How dare someone consider a cheap Web-based laptop with minimal internal storage and limited functionality a threat to Mr. Softy's empire? Where's the love for PC gaming and fancy internal productivity software? What's a consumer or a small business to do when connectivity is down?
The problem is that folks are already starting to turn their back on Microsoft's chunky operating system. Global Windows revenue fell 4% in Microsoft's latest quarter. People are realizing that a smartphone or tablet running Google's Android or Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iOS is more than enough to fulfill basic computing functionality. Why not go with a dirt-cheap Google laptop that boots up in a flash, doesn't require anti-virus software, has a ridiculously long battery life, and can feast on the growing cloud computing revolution?
Chrome wasn't built in a day, but Google now has 160 million active users of Google's Web browser.
Google also has head-turning partners willing to give Chromebook a shot. Acer and Samsung will make the first laptops, at price points between $350 and $500. They'll be available through Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) and Best Buy (NYSE: BBY ) come June 15. Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) is stepping in to offer 100 megs of free connectivity every month for the first two years on Samsung's 3G model for when Wi-Fi isn't available.
Chromebook obviously isn't going to be for everybody. However, it will be substantially cheaper for companies that have already turned to cloud-based enterprise software. Students who lean on computers merely to surf the web, listen to music, and run Microsoft Office programs will be just fine migrating to Google's free alternatives.
This isn't the end of Microsoft. This isn't even another nail in its coffin. Microsoft isn't dying. However, this is another bold attempt at making the world's leading software company less relevant. These shots are already taking their toll on Microsoft and its languishing share price over the past decade.
Chromebook isn't a Microsoft killer, but it's going to be another headache for Mr. Softy.
Is Chromebook going to be a flop or does it have a shot at the market it's aiming for? Share your tips in the comment box below.