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Is Microsoft planning Bingbook to compete with Chromebooks?

Rumor has it Microsoft is developing a competitor to ChromeOS. With disappointing sales of Windows RT and other touch based devices, can another OS even compete? It would seem silly to attempt to do so with the wildly popular ChromeOS not giving any ground in the low-end computing space.

That’s exactly what Microsoft may do, if the reports are true. To try and compete, the OS fee would be waived, and bundled as a free or low cost upgrade to existing Windows 7 users. Several sources are also speculating on other details, including offering the OS to PC builders for free. It seems as if Microsoft will do whatever possible to push Windows on the consumer, just as it did with features prior to antitrust filings dating back to 1995, the most famous being the 1998 suit concerning bundling Internet Explorer with its operating system as unfair business practices. Times must be getting tough for the software giant to hedge its bets on free instead of features.

Currently, Microsoft still charges laptop and PC makers a license fee to ship Windows 8 to the devices they are selling. In the low-end device space, this is particularly an issue, with several manufacturers instead opting for the free ChromeOS. ChromeOS does a spectacular job at providing a hassle free Operating System for low-powered devices, free of many headaches that typically plague Windows users, and non-tech savvy folks. If there was ever a desktop I would replace my father’s aging PC with a brand new computer, it would be a ChromeOS based desktop. It’s simple, and does what it sets out to do. It should be noted that Google also does not directly earn money from sales on devices loaded with ChromeOS.

If many of these speculations hold true, Microsoft could potentially reverse dismal sales, as well as bind users into the Bing ecosystem that that still struggles to compete with Google’s offerings despite the many attack ads. I doubt that even the recent license cost reduction for Windows 8.1 (at less than $250) will do the software monolith much good at this point in the game. The license cost reduction, as well as these new reports, only show a fear of the current state of Microsoft’s state of affairs in general.

Users are already seem mystified with Windows 8, so furthering the confusion would not do Microsoft any good. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to help individuals with the new drastic shift in UI workflow. Poor performance and reception of Windows RT did not help Microsoft’s cause either. The model of convergence they are pursuing would not be helped by another OS introduction at a time in which folks are still confused on what Windows 8 is really helping them do that Windows 7 can’t. Recent polls for users and enterprises show a sharp lean in adoption of Windows 7 after XP’s demise, rather than Windows 8.x. But, with retail copies of Windows 7 being a scarce commodity, it is an option that users are having a hard time with. Enterprises have much more pull in this area, either outright purchasing licenses, or adopting downgrade practices for the license purchase itself.

Coupled with the fact that Microsoft has continually hammered aspects of Chromebooks, including the always on feature, a move of this sort would only hamper any rebound Microsoft would hope to achieve from its latest disappointing offering to users. It only solidifies that Microsoft is running out of ideas, and can only use its might and cemented position in the existing market and cash flow to do damage control. Everything they are doing of late, is pounce on ideas they otherwise considered poor and terrible in the past (e.g. the iPhone and iPad).

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Source: OMG Chrome!

Michael T. DeGuzis

Whether it be contributing an article online, engaging with the community, or diving head first into unknown waters, Linux is the focal point of my computing hobbies

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