A couple of weeks ago I stood upon my soapbox and went off on Microsoft for its embarrassing Scroogled campaign. I stand by what I said – the company needs to grow up and learn that this sort of behavior only harms its own reputation, not that of the corporation on the receiving end.
But, it turns out, I may have misspoke in part of my little tirade. You see, I attacked the recent anti-Chromebook ads, specifically, “Microsoft has succeeded only in bringing attention and free advertising to a platform that really should never have scared it, but somehow has managed to terrify the Redmond company”.
“Perhaps Microsoft needs to think in similar terms. Cheap notebook computers for the masses.”
Well, it seems Microsoft is right, and I was wrong in this case. In fact, the software giant has good reason to be terrified of Google’s Linux-based operating system. The fact is, while recent PC sales have slumped in favor of tablets (and smartphones and phablets), Google is seeing a much different picture. NPD recently reported that Chromebooks made up 21 percent of all notebook sales.
The number may not sound huge, but compare it to Apple. The darling of the hipster set represents a considerably smaller portion of the market. Chrome OS is not knocking Microsoft out, but the company is certainly on the ropes.
What can it do to defend itself? Well, Scroogled isn’t an option — it’s still just as sad of a mess as it was the day Mr. Penn came up with the misconception. Calling the notebook the “brick” that’s it’s not won’t work. Misdirections like pointing out lack of Google Docs when offline is just ridiculous — we all know there is an offline mode.
Perhaps Microsoft needs to think in similar terms. Cheap notebook computers for the masses. It will require some work — perhaps making an offline version Office Web Apps…you know, because you point that finger at Google Docs.
Scale down the hardware. Chromebooks admittedly come with few perks — a couple of USB ports is about as much as you should hope for. Micro-USB charging, as the HP 11 has (leave out the overheating please). Storage is minimal, but we don’t need it. Damn it, Microsoft, you have SkyDrive for this, so think out of the box for once.
I fully expect my words to fall upon deaf ears. The company seems to be set in its course — attack, as opposed to innovate. It’s a shame really. I still use Windows 8.1 much more than Chrome OS. But I see the big picture and, apparently, Microsoft does also. We just envision different ways of dealing with it.