In January 2020, Microsoft ended free support for Windows 7. Although it is present on more than 825 million terminals worldwide, Windows 10, the current version of the operating system from Microsoft, is not is present only in one in two active Internet users, 54.78% according to NetMarketShare (read our article).
Like Windows XP before him, Windows 7 is resisting, with 33.89% of Internet users connected in June 2019. The official end of support for Windows 7 is often presented as favorable for professional uses of the Chromebook, because it would offer businesses a interesting economic alternative. Our investigation shows that this is not the case.
Chromebook hits the professional market
The Chromebook and Chrome OS are often presented in opposition to Windows PCs. The economic argument is generally put forward to explain the interest in the Chromebook. Whereas its origin stamped Google would tend to do the opposite, and divert attention from the Chromebook. In reality, the Chromebook is present in three markets: the general public, education and the professional. On the first, the price argument dominates. In terms of education, it is failure in France (but Google has not said its last word). Finally, on the “pro”, the market has been active in France and Europe for only two years.
The emerging attractiveness of businesses for the Chromebook benefits from the conjunction of four phenomena:
Google’s field action
Google is very present on the ground, to promote its Cloud as well as Chromebook. Benjamin Colin, Director of B to B and Distribution at ASUS France, confirms this to us: “in business, we are taking advantage of the momentum brought by Google, which is taking on its search for the CAC 40. We often arrive in phase two, after Google has enlightened customers and did a lot of the work. ”
Digital transformation, the Cloud and the digital workplace
The digital transformation of companies goes through the Cloud and through the change of paradigms on uses. Their reflections push them towards the adoption of new tools more adapted to these new practices. For companies engaged in the transformation of the workplace towards mobility and collaboration, the Chromebook is an attractive option.
Partner’s vertical approach to Chrome
If the Chromebook still finds it difficult to find its place in the catalog of distributors, for Benjamin Colin “the Chrome universe widens the view of our partners, with a very vertical approach which is part of a business model 100% geared towards specialized partners ”.
Curiosity and demonstration
“Given the strong presence of Microsoft, it must be shown that it is doable,” says Benjamin Colin. At the start of transformation projects, companies show curiosity about the Chrome universe. And it’s not Laurent Jacquet, Google Business Unit Director at Econocom, who will contradict him: “faced with the ignorance of the existence of the Chromebook, we have to test. Our Chrome Starter Pack program invites us to define the uses, aim for minimum integration, and offer the loan of 5 to 10 Chromebooks for four weeks. ”
From this conjunction arises a growing interest from manufacturers and companies for the Chromebook. To the point that, according to our estimate, Chrome OS today represents around 4 to 5% of the volume of PC orders placed by companies. Starting from zero two years ago, the growth in Chromebook sales is exponential. Enough in any case for the computer manufacturers – Asus, HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer (Google did not wish to be present on the French market) – to look into this market.
“Premium” ranges for companies
The commercial potential of the Chromebook is much higher than that of the Windows PC market, even swept away by the imposed migration from Windows 7 to Windows 10. According to IDC, sales growth is 33% for Chrome OS, while that of the PC is only 1.3%, and is expected to decline in the coming years. We understand the interest shown by the manufacturers. And to address the professional market, they are evolving their ranges originally intended for the general public and for education.
Thus, Dell has just presented two new Chromebooks, Latitude 5300 and 5400, configurable (this is new), and which denote by embedding Intel Core processors of the latest generation. More surprisingly, they can carry a 1 TB hard drive.
As for Asus, the premium range based on aluminum finish models will be complemented by a semi-hardened range of Chromebook and Chrometab (Chrome OS tablets) with a focus on hyper-displacement and construction sites, as well as Chromeboxes (from office) in use 100% B to B.