The Chromebook has Microsoft scared. Have you seen their latest Scroogled commercial? I saw it during a recent trip to Florida. The Scroogled site is witty. Every fan of advertising should check it out. Goliath has become David. If only the rest of Microsoft’s marketing was so cool! I look forward to seeing Google’s response to this.

Until recently, the battle of the laptops revolved around Microsoft and Apple. Because of the nature of Apple’s quality products, the fight took place at the high end. Apple never intended for their laptops to be an “everyman’s tool.”

The Chromebook – Microsoft battle royale takes place at the low end of the market. Chromebooks typically sell for $199 – $299. According to Amazon, the bestselling lower end Windows based laptops go for $300 – $800.

Chromebook Designers – Listen Up!

I bought an Acer C720 Chromebook last month and love it. I have a Windows desktop at home, but use it a lot less now that I have the Chromebook. It’s nice to have a laptop that actually fits on my lap and weighs less than a gold filled suitcase. My Chromebook is perfect for web browsing and writing – 95% of my needs. But it is missing a few things..

  • My Chromebook can’t burn cds and dvds. I burn backups a few times a month. I absolutely need the ability to plug in a USB dvd burner.
  • I don’t print a lot of documents, but wish I could “plug and print” on my Chromebook.
  • If the Chromebook wants to level the playing field with Microsoft, Google will need a cloud version of “plug and play.” We need to be able to plug in any USB device and run it. Drivers should be located in a new Chromebook Driver Cloud.
  • My Acer Chromebook doesn’t allow USB charging; I need to plug it into the wall. I wish I could charge it the same way I charge my smartphone and tablet.
  • I use two Google personas – personal and work. On my desktop PC, I am able to log into both at once; not so on my Chromebook. It’s annoying to have to logout and in when I want to check my work email. I’m sure there will be a workaround for this.

The Next Round in the Chromebook – Microsoft Battle

If nothing else, the low end laptop war has awakened the folks at Microsoft. The website and commercials are a nice start, but it’s not enough. I won’t be surprised if Microsoft lowers prices on their entry level products. Expect price reductions on the basic versions of Windows and Office.

And the Winner is – You!

You, the consumers, are the winner of the Chromebook – Microsoft battle. The best thing for all of us that can happen is that neither side wins by knockout. This will push Microsoft to lower prices and finally deal with a worthy competitor on the lower end of the market. For three decades, Microsoft ruled the PC market with almost no serious competition. It is going to be fun see how a post-Gates & Ballmer Microsoft fights back.

Until now, Google was hitting Microsoft around the edges. The recent success of the Chromebook is a body blow that Microsoft will not ignore. Hold tight, the laptop market is going to get very interesting as 2014 progresses!