Chrome OS gains on Windows 8's pains

Chrome OS gains on Windows 8's pains

Summary: After only a few months Acer's Chromebook already accounts for 5 to 10 percent of Acer's US shipments and HP will soon be launching its own Chromebook. In the meantime, Windows 8 PC sales remain anemic.


The blame game for Windows 8's initial disappointment has already started. Microsoft blames OEMs. OEMs blame Microsoft. The bottom line is that Windows 8 has sunk below Vista's market share during the same initial period. The surprising winner in all this? Google's Linux-based Chrome OS.

Acer's Linux-powered Chromebook has gone from zero to five to ten percent of the company's US shipments in a few months. (Credit: Acer)

I thought Chrome OS had a shot at the big-time. I didn't expect it a major PC OEM, Acer, to introduce a Chromebook in late 2012 and a few months later have it account for 5 to 10% of its US shipments. At the same time, as Acer CEO Jim Wong said "Windows 8 itself is still not successful."

Wong, in a Bloomberg interview, added that he expects Chromebook sales at this level "to be sustainable in the long term and the company is considering offering Chrome models in other developed markets." Windows 8? "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.”

Wong credits Chrome OS gains to the fact "that it’s more secure,” He also added that early adopters have been "more professional, heavy Internet users with educational institutions, and corporations are also likely to show interest in the operating system." And, all this was done, he added, with much less marketing and promotion than Windows 8's sales campaigns.

Acer's not the only ones who noticed that Chromebooks are as popular as hot coffee on a cold winter morning. First, Lenovo, and now HP has jumped on the Chromebook bandwagon.

These vendors aren't selling Chromebooks because they love Linux. They're doing it, I believe, because consumer and business users presented with a choice between a radically different look in Windows 8 and a different, but familiar looking, Chrome Web browser interface will choose the friendly face of Chrome. It seems they're right. 

It also doesn't help Microsoft's cause any that Chromebooks are cheaper than Windows 8 systems. In particular, Windows 8 systems that show off its "Metro" interface require touch-screens and at at an average price of $867, they're much pricey.

Last, but far from least, Chrome OS has no licensing fee. It doesn't cost Acer one thin dime to place Chrome OS on its Chromebooks. In a dwindling PC market, pumping up the profit margin counts for a lot. Just ask Acer, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung.

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Topics: Linux, Google, Hardware, Laptops, Microsoft, Operating Systems, PCs, Windows 8

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  • If Chromebooks are selling at 5-10%

    then Windows is at 90-95%.

    Which one is the more successful of the two I wonder. And this is even with the cheap price of Chromebooks.

    I wouldn't say that's all rosey and great for Chromebooks. I think you would want Chromebooks at 90%, Windows at 5% to call Chrome Successful, right?
    William Farrel
    • Notice Keyword...

      They sell other products. Probably servers, Windows 7 machines, Android tablets, and PCs. When you think about it of Windows 8 isn't successful, they have a higher expectation than Chrome OS. 5-10 percent is a surprise but this is Windows. It should blow it away. It may be 20 percent of all sales which is a disappointment.
      • ChromeBook buyers are fooled

        A Win7 netbook is cheaper than this free browser that somehow is sold at 200$. I wonder how many of those buyers would buy ChromeBook should they know there are better choices at a lower price.
        • No new netbook on the market...

          Sure, netbooks are cheaper, but almost no one is making new models now.

          They are selling their stock, and replacing them with android tablets and ultrabooks, so next year you won't be able to buy a new netbook.
          If you want something light to carry around, you'll find only tablets (cheap but limited) and ultrabooks (not so cheap, but complete).
        • You all fail to recognize why Chromebook will overtake Windows

          Windows wont disappear, though its market share will collapse.

          Most users don't need or use the , they just need the basics.

          Internet (mail, Google, fob)
          Word and excel
          A bit of graphics and multimedia

          Call it done.

          Would this help me develop the latest astronomy software. No way! But it will help most moms, kids and users that don't need or want to understand tech. The majority of all!

          And no fuss updates, no fuss viruses, no fuss learning tech.

          That spells doom for MS market share.

          Involved as I am developing stuff you only see in syfi and most would not comprehend because of the amount of math, electronics, physics and chemistry involved. We are and will stay away from Win 8 and WinRT. The cost to rework what we have to fit MS's dream is not worth it. Both Android and IOs as well as other options look interesting as alternatives. MS and its followers fail to grasp the obvious.
          • mr obvious

            Please show us how you plan using excel and word (per your example) without being part of microsoft market share
            Master Wayne
          • google docs

            well, as far as I know google docs are capable of xls/doc files updates. the only question is, whether you need word/excel to do document/spreadsheets editing. As I believe, you don't.
          • Very good...

            I actually enjoyed this comment, but does put out the point that people don't think of the words "Word Processor" and "Spreadsheet" any more. Just like people use "Google" instead of "Search Engine". Google don't like this, and Microsoft are desperate to get people to "Bing it"...
          • Er...

            I think you mean "wordprocessor" and "spreadsheet", not "Word(tm)" and "Excel(tm)" up there. Though I suppose Microsoft does have Office365, if you're not happy with the freebie Google Docs on these things.

            Not for me, not for my kids, but my 81 year old Mom would probably get as much out of this as she does her Windows 7 laptop. And less "can you fix this" for me...
          • Sexist comment

            Do you understand just how sexist it is to infer that "moms" only need a simple computer? Is it because they really just spend all their time in the kitchen and only need a machine that allows them to gossip with the other moms? Moms cannot clearly understand technology apparently.
          • I don't think Windows will collapse...

            ...though I am hoping for a much more competitive OS market than has existed since the 1980s, which, of necessity, would mean a much smaller marketshare for Windows (somewhere between 25%-40%, which would probably make it still the single most popular OS).
            John L. Ries
      • Other products...

        "They sell other products. Probably servers...."

        Oh god I hope not. If I ever see an "Acer" nameplate on a server, it better not be near a carpeted office... Blood stains can be pretty hard to get out...
      • There's more than windows...

        Please add to the sum: servers with gnu/linux, servers with windows server, pcs with windows 7, android tablets and pcs, Apple Macs and iPads, pcs and laptops without any OS preinstalled and even that small number of machines with Ubuntu or other gnu/linux OS.
        And sure, also ChromeOS machines.

        They are all wearing away microsoft market from all the sides, 5% at a time.
        • Likely, that 5% is being taken from tablet sales,

          and, neither a tablet nor a Chromebook can do the same as a PC.

          If all that people need is the internet, then a browser is enough, but, paying for a browser, is pretty stupid, which the Chromebook is not much more than a browser which is being sold for some $250.
          • Paying for a browser may be smart

            If all you use on a computer is the browser, than paying for everything else on a laptop would be stupid, too.
      • The Metro Screen of DEATH

        I actually like Windows 8 and its grown on me. Don't be afraid of embracing the metro screen and soon you be glad the start button is gone. That's why I'm feeling Server2012 as well!!! Great products.. probably wont adapt for another 5 years.
    • then Windows is at 90-95%: Wrong!

      Chrome books account for 10-15% of Acer shipments, which includes monitors, keyboards, mice, PCs, netbooks, laptops, and other various bits and pieces. Have you no business experience, or did you think Acer product line consists of just 2 devices: Windows PCs and Chrome books?
      • monitors, keyboards, mice,

        low profit items. I think he's talking PC shipments, as the other things you mention aren't the things carrying the day, so I think I'm closer.

        Though laptops and netbooks, servers and PC's aren't running ChromeOS, to be sure.
        William Farrel
        • You kidding?

          "monitors, keyboards, mice, low profit items. I think he's talking PC shipments, as the other things you mention aren't the things carrying the day, so I think I'm closer. "

          This is Steven J. we're talking about here... he rarely worries about the validity of any data he puts in his postings - only whether the numbers can be spun in his favour. Can't assume any logic where he's concerned.
      • Business experience

        Ah, you funny old business-experienced experts. I'm also 'in business'. One thing I've learnt is never make guesses or extrapolations or prognostications on a simple term like 'shipments'. Of what? All products? All computers? Desktops, Laptops, ...? Before we get in a lather over what's best or biased or whatever, concentrate on the key point; some well-known manufacturers are selling or gearing up to sell Chromebooks. Windows may or may not be under threat, Apple may or may not be losing market value, lots of things come and go but for now, right now, Chromebooks are selling - even SVN commented that was "surprising". I simply find it notably interesting and I read the whole article because I have an open mind and want to hear peoples' opinions. As usual, there is too much emotional, biased and ignorant comment from you people who should normally be more objective and thoughtful.
        For me, my Android phone does a lot of my work and theoretically, I could be swyping , fingering or tippy tapping this reply on one right now. Or I could be fat-tapping a tablet (I'm using neither of course). I happen to be using my laptop - connected to the internet - but I just as well could be using a Chromebook. For long text, as long as it has keys and connectivity, I'm fine. I do tend to use Word a lot because I use very complicated formatting/document automation tools which no web-based word processor has matched yet. But I know that it will happen one day and therefore, I do use Google Docs for general work too. Yes, I can use other web-based applications but I like the Google ecosystem. Whatever suits me won't necessarily suit others but I don't really care.