Chrome VS Microsoft?
In the Red Corner….the Mammoth Machine, Microsoft
In the Blue Corner…..the Calculating Kraken, Chrome
AAAA LLLLLETS GET READY TO RUUUUUMMMBLE!!!
Or not, as it so happens.
Having (for donkeys years) watched Microsoft practically dominate technology, it seemed as if the Klitschko-esque Windows and MS Office faced no conceivable threat. As the more recent arrival of Google Chrome steps confidently through the ropes I’d assumed that two of the giants of our time would fight tooth and nail to ensure it held the majority. After the final punch landed, customers would be forced to pick a side and stick with it.
However the more I work with Chrome the more I see they’re doing something unusual for a global tech firm- they accept their limitations and the market as it is rather than the market they want.
Chrome have certainly been clever in their endeavour. They’ve identified that organisations don’t just switch en-masse to a whole new software/hardware ecosystem (especially when they’ve invested heavily over a number of years in Microsoft Infrastructure).
As such they’ve made it easy for customers to have their own way. For example, simple things like Google Active Directory Sync (GADS) which means employees/students simply carry on using their existing login details, and IT admins can still manage users with their existing group structure.
Using Office 365? Like it? Think this puts the kybosh on Chrome?....Think again.
As we know Office 365 was designed with mobility in mind; one user, many devices, a Chrome device (be it a Chromebook or a Chromebox) is just another device; From Google Apps you can pre-install all the major Microsoft applications onto the Chrome device- sure they’re web based but the difference between Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook online and a locally installed program, is negligible.
Most importantly this means users aren’t confronted with the ‘dreaded change’, they are met with the same familiar, friendly icons, same features and most importantly, files in the same place.
Sure there is a Google App to do just about anything, including several which are arguably better and easier to use than the Microsoft versions, but the fact is that if you wanted to have a Chromebook and never actually use a program with the letter G in it you can.
Effectively Chrome OS is providing an option for:
- Devices with faster boot times (It would be a challenge to find a Windows notebook for under £200 which boots in under 9 seconds…)
- Better battery life- think back to the dark days of Netbooks, literally dark days as you’d have to have screens so dark it was like watching the Blair Witch Project to eke 5 hours use out of them! Now think even budget Chromebooks will run brightly for 6 hours straight
- No Viruses or Malware; Due to the design of the OS you don’t have to worry about users downloading dodgy software as put simply, they can’t
- Straightforward Management- the Chrome Management Platform is frankly a thing of simplistic beauty, no powershell, no CLI, no sitting there remembering which exact Command is needed, just straight forward tick boxes and drop down menus, yet still the same (if not more) level of control and customisation
- Due to constant updates and users profiles loading automatically regardless of device support time is greatly reduced.
- True mobility- everything is stored in the cloud therefore multiple users using a single device isn’t a problem, users get the same applications and files regardless which Chrome OS device they use
Ultimately Chromebooks give a low cost, high performance, minimal time investment solution to mobile devices for users, with the flexibility to pick and mix and which aspects of Googles offerings you use and which Microsoft products you continue to utilise. It’s less a matter of ‘pick a team’ and more of a group hug than you might imagine.
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