There was a time when the business world was dominated by Windows laptops, but that's quickly changing. And with businesses looking for alternatives to Windows and OS X-based laptops, the Chromebook has come out as a major winner, with more of the Google-powered notebooks turning up in business and education settings.
According to a study conducted by the NPD Group, Chromebooks accounted for a whopping 35 percent of all business-to-business notebook sales in the first half of 2014. That's a massive 250 percent year-over-year increase from 2013. The impressive growth of Google's Chromebooks, which are sold by notebook makers including Acer, HP and Samsung, among others, means that the operating system has become a legitimate third contender in the business notebook segment alongside Windows and OS X.
"The next test for Chrome will clearly be the most difficult, as both Apple and Microsoft get more aggressive in pricing and deal making over the next few months," NPD Group's Stephen Baker said. "By the end of the third quarter we will have a much clearer picture of the long-term impact Chromebooks will have in the commercial channel.”
According to Baker, Chromebook sales have increased as more businesses seek out different computing solutions for their employees. The fact that businesses are looking for alternative computing solutions, however, isn't a condemnation of Microsoft, despite the fact that Windows-based notebook sales remained flat.
"It is hard, often impossible, to maintain the high levels of device share that Windows has had in business-to-business channels over the years," Baker explained. "And with a bigger range of choices, iPads, more affordable and compatible Macs, Android tablets and Chromebooks, and even Surface tablets, the market has many great choices, meaning it is virtually impossible for the incumbent platform to stay stationary."
Baker said that Microsoft's decision to end support of Windows XP has caused businesses to have to make decisions about the kinds of systems they upgrade to. And the way it's looking, a good amount of of those new systems may just be Chromebooks.