For the first time, Google beat Apple in PC sales - and that's really bad news for Microsoft
First: For the first time ever, low-cost Google Chromebook laptops outsold Apple's Macs during the most recent quarter, analyst firm IDC tells The Verge.Manufacturers including Dell, Lenovo, and HP sold over 2 million Google-powered Chromebooks combined, versus around 1.76 million Macs, IDC estimates.
For Apple, it's not necessarily great news, but it's not the end of the world, either. Quarter after quarter, Macs have shown sales growth, bucking the overall shrinkage of the PC industry. And Apple has always been a company that's content to completely and profitably own a small piece of a much larger pie.But for Microsoft, it means that the pressure is on - Google's slow-but-steady attack is bearing some real results, and it's not great news for Windows 10.
Why people like Chrome
The key concept of the Chromebook is simplicity and portability. These devices run Google's mega-lightweight Chrome OS, which is little more than a web browser. That works fine, given that the vast majority of stuff that most people do on computers is based around the browser, anyhow.That limitation becomes a strength, too: Because so little data is stored locally, it means that nothing is lost if you break or lose a Chromebook. It's all in the cloud, no matter what. And because the technical requirements for running a browser are so low, you still get reasonable performance, even from a sub-$200 laptop.
That combination of low cost and resiliency is an offer that lots of schools, especially, can't refuse. Chromebooks continue to see their strongest growth in the educational space.
Add Android apps to that mix, and it gets even better. Android is the most popular operating system in the world. Any software today is likely going to be available on Android, the web, or both. It means that for Chromebooks, and indeed any Chrome OS device, there's basically nothing you won't be able to do.Google is basically taking its wildly successful smartphone operating system and smashing it together with Chrome OS to make it a more useful desktop operating system.
Microsoft is taking the opposite tack with Windows.
Where Windows 10 is going
With its Universal Windows Platform iniative, Microsoft is trying to convince developers - mainly the new breed of smartphone app developers - to bring their services to Windows 10 and its Windows Store.It's basically trying to take its existing lead in desktop operating systems, and extend it down to the things people usually do on their phones nowadays.
Matt Weinberger/Business Insider
And while Google doesn't make its own Chromebook laptops, with the exception of the super-high-end Chromebook Pixel line, the Chromebooks represent significant new territory for Google's Android business and overall reach.Windows still has a clear lead now, but the PC market is shrinking, with little chance of a turnaround. If Chromebooks are growing amid those conditions, it's just another challenge for Microsoft to overcome.
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