Google, VMware Team Up Against Rival Microsoft

by Sohini Bagchi    Feb 13, 2014


Despite a steady decline in the overall PC market, Chromebooks have got a lot of attention in past quarters. In a move to bring Chromebooks closer to the enterprise space, Google and VMWare have announced a partnership that will allow Chromebook computers to run applications designed for its rival Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

Chromebook users can utilize VMware’s Desktop as a Service (DaaS) platform to gain access to current and legacy applications in the Cloud. Further, the service affords the ability for Chromebook users to use Windows applications, data, and desktops directly on the WiFi-heavy devices using VMware’s Blast HTML5 technology.

The agreement, which builds on VMware’s acquisition of Desktone in October, is intended to boost Google’s efforts to persuade corporate customers to choose its low-priced Chromebooks rather than Windows machines, believe experts. The software will let companies access Windows programs, data and desktops on Chromebooks at a lower cost.

In a recent press release, Google and VMware related the experience as “modernizing corporate desktops for the mobile Cloud era.”

Amit Singh, President of Google Enterprise, says, “Google Chromebooks can save businesses about $5,000 per computer when compared to traditional PCs. Chromebooks are designed for the way people use computers today and are a secure, easy and cost-effective solution to help organizations embrace a new way of doing business. Through our partnership with VMware, businesses can now capitalize on these advantages with access to legacy applications, data and desktops they need to keep employees productive.”

Both VMware and Google are rivals to Microsoft and have an incentive to try to reduce corporate dependency on Windows computers. Chromebooks have done better than initially expected in some markets, such as education and small business, and Google is now trying to build up its corporate accounts, rolling out a Chromebox computer earlier this month that’s designed to help businesses hold online meetings, a Bloomberg report noted.

According to industry watchers, allowing Windows apps to be available in the cloud will make it easier for business users to make the Chromebook viable in the workplace.

IT reviewer Rod Trent however mentions that Microsoft Office is still, by far, the leader in office productivity apps, and of course, there are many critical business applications that will only run on Windows systems. So, for Chromebooks to have any hope of becoming a true business device, they must somehow run the applications that businesses need.

Citrix makes an app for Google’s laptops called “Citrix Receiver” that has a moderate level of acceptance in the enterprise. It’ll be interesting to see how the new partnership would do in the market.