Windows 10 Cloud May Be Microsoft's Chrome OS Killer

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Chrome OS is now the second most popular OS (sorry, macOS); nearly half of students own Chromebooks; and, according to Google, Chromebooks saw 20 percent year over year growth in retail in 2016 while the rest of the PC industry was down.

But Microsoft could have an answer coming soon in the form of Windows 10 Cloud.

HP Stream 13According to a report from ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, Windows watchers discovered the name of this supposedly new software within recent test builds of Windows 10.

According to the report, Windows 10 Cloud is designed to be a simplified version of Windows 10 that will run only Universal Windows apps from the Windows Store.

MORE: Chromebooks vs. Windows 10 Laptops: What Should You Buy?

Those who remember the ill-fated Windows RT might be rolling their eyes at this point, but Microsoft needs an answer to Chromebooks, even if it doesn't literally run off the cloud. Foley says the branding simply refers to a "simpler, safter, cheaper version of Windows 10."

Now that Windows is finally coming to ARM processors via a partnership with Qualcomm, which should result in cheaper laptops, the timing could be right for a Windows 10 Cloud.

Ironically, Chromebooks are starting to get more sophisticated and pricey as Microsoft looks to potentially aim lower. The Samsung Chromebook Plus and Pro are 2-in-1s complete with pen input that will start around $450. Let the battle begin.

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Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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  • Kieran Miyamoto Says:

    We saw this coming a mile off, but they're playing catch-up. Microsoft is going to have to play their hand very carefully. With Android apps on Chrome OS, they have to measure up or fail - and let's be honest, the Universal Windows Platform and the Store aren't nearly as mature as Android apps or GPlay.

    Another thing they have to tackle is Edge. If they are going to rely on Edge as the main browser, they have to bring it up to standard. It's already fast and lightweight, now MS has to embrace extensions and addons.

    If this actually gets off the ground, I expect they will entice people with 1 or 2 years of O365 - they will have to do a lot more than a freebie to make Cloud successful though.

  • Patel Nisha Says:

    If this Win 10 Cloud thing is for M$ to compete against Google’s ChromeOS, M$ will very likely end up on the losing side, like how their Windows Mobile OS lost to Google’s Android Mobile OS.
    ……. IOW, M$ cannot complete on a level-playing field, ie both Windows Mobile OS n Android Mobile OS were free for consumers. Similarly for M$’s half-dead IE/Edge, Bing, Maps, Hotmail, etc.

  • JuanSoto Says:

    > Chrome OS is now the second most popular OS

    This is interesting. Would love to see a source link to this.

    > simplified version of Windows 10 that will run only Universal Windows apps

    But doesn't this make it more of a competitor to Android and iOS? It also sounds like these are Microsoft's first steps toward ending legacy apps and the subsystems that are needed to support them.

    Universal apps, from what I understand (I'm a Linux user removed from Windows these days), are driven by sdk/apis (forced compatibility with many Windows devices) with strong *local* support. Much unlike ChromeOS and the ill-fated FireFox OS.

  • CajunMoses Says:

    I, and lot of other people, saw this coming a couple of years ago. It was inevitable. No matter what Microsoft has said about Chromebooks in the past, the Cloud is without doubt the future, and Chrome OS is standing all alone in the ready. This "Windows Cloud" thing will become basically a Chrome OS clone. But Microsoft will market it much more aggressively and successfully than Google has marketed Chrome OS. And the marketplace will always take Microsoft seriously while it has has always viewed Chrome OS with tremendous skepticism. Suddenly, after Microsoft signals developers, Cloud-based apps will be all the rage. But they won't run on Chromebooks.

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