Surging Chromebook sales this Christmas spell doom for Microsoft

“Chromebooks, the minimalist laptops powered by Google’s browser-based Chrome operating system, exploded onto the market share this year, and appear to be finishing the year on particularly strong note,” Matt Marshall reports for VentureBeat. “According to just one popular metric, Amazon.com is showing that Chromebooks make up three of its top four best-seller laptops.”

“And that’s after Chromebooks already boosted their overall market share among commercial buyers (businesses, schools, governments, etc) through November this year to 21 percent for notebooks, and 10 percent for all computers and tablets, according to the market research firm, NPD Group,” Marshall reports. “That’s up from almost nothing last year: two-tenths of one percent for all computer and tablet sales.”

“That’s really rough news news for Microsoft, which is the principal loser of market share against the Chromebooks,” Marshall reports. “Samsung‘s Chromebook and the Acer C720 Chromebook — came in as two of the three best-selling notebooks during the U.S. holiday season. The third was Asus‘ Transformer Book, a Windows 8.1 device that can alternate between a 10.1-inch tablet to a keyboard-equipped laptop.”

MacDailyNews Take: There’s a special tier of stupid reserved for “Asus Transformer Book” owners. As with “Do you own a Surface tablet?”, it should be used in job interviews as an instant disqualifier.

“Google is doing with its Chrome OS for PCs what it did with Android for smartphones: License its operating system to manufacturers essentially for free, in the interest of spreading web-based devices that help Google to serve more web-based advertising,” Marshall reports. “A good part of Microsoft’s business is based on Windows, and so it can’t afford to give it away for fee.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Between them, like a mercilessly tightening vise, Apple from the top down and Google from the bottom up, are squeezing beleaguered Microsoft to death.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

67 Comments

    1. An iceberg is a fractured monolith which eventually looses mass and turns upside down a number of times as it crumbles.

      Sort of like RIM as it flips to Blackberry to …

      I wonder what revolt will occur amongst shareholders at the next annual meeting for Microsoft?

      Will it stop the melting of the iceberg?
      Will a “new” CEO break the iceberg in two.
      Will a new CEO move the chairs as the melting continues?
      Will a new CEO be fired by the board for destabilizing the iceberg?
      Will the old CEO be forced to come back aboard and go out in a meltdown?

      The Board of Directors needs to address a problem I didn’t think I would see before. Is Microsoft now the company you love to hate? It has happened to countries, cities and their leaders. Once a company reaches that stage, can you save it or does it break up like the former Yugoslavia?

    2. What make all of you think that this is only bad for MSFT? Apple is feeling it as well based on their lack lustre Mac sales. Google appears to be well on its way to be the modern day MSFT and they are leaving a mark. Hate all you want but they sure have a hold on a large audience. 80%+ of the world’s mobile space is pretty impressive and not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. MDN can hate all day long, but Google is hurting a lot more companies than MSFT…. Try Apple Inc.!

  1. People must be clueless on how Google makes its money.

    “Google is doing with its Chrome OS for PCs what it did with Android for smartphones: License its operating system to manufacturers essentially for free, in the interest of spreading web-based devices that help Google to serve more web-based advertising,”

  2. I’ll take MicroSoft over Google any day. MS is just incompetent, whereas Google is a devious, conniving, backstabbing bunch of low life scum, as epitomized by that dirtbag Eric Schmidt.

      1. I’ll believe the numbers when I see evidence of large numbers of Chromebooks showing up in internet usage stats.

        It’s a bit like all those Android phones that are apparently sold, but never seem to get used to surf the internet.

        1. That’s an entirely different metric. Looking at the top sellers lists either at Amazon or elsewhere show Chromebooks are definitely taking a chunk out of the market share that otherwise would’ve gone to Windows.

          Now, as a separate metric, you can look at usage share, and you’ll probably end up with a result that mirrors what we saw with netbooks. Chromebooks are cheap… the number 1 on Amazon right now is under $200. The reality is, like a netbook, you really can’t use it all that much as a full computer.

          These cheap Chromebooks are selling well, not being used as much as full laptops, and won’t last long, but in the meantime, it’s breaking users out of Windows.

          The one major difference between Chromebooks and netbooks, is that Chromebooks will evolve to become more like full PCs while still remaining lower priced than Windows. Microsoft simply can’t compete with this because unlike Google, Microsoft loses money on their services.

          Apple meanwhile, sells a premium product and makes money on the system itself (including the hardware) as well as the services without engaging in a race to the bottom.

          1. Claims of high shipping numbers is a metric that can be faked and we have seen many examples of deception of that sort in recent years. Evidence of actual on-line usage is much harder to fake.

            The unusual thing about a Chromebook is that it’s virtually useless unless connected to the internet, so if anything, it’s usage stats per device should appear to be higher than either a laptop, tablet or smartphone.

            If Chromebooks are truly selling well, we will be able to see two things happening in the next few months. First of all, the usage share will rise to such a degree that it’s no longer lost in the bottom end of the ‘other’ category and will warrant a category of it’s own. The other thing will be that manufacturers would be declaring increased profits from selling large numbers of Chromebooks and will be eagerly launching new models in order to boost their fortunes.

            Until those things happen, I think there remains a big question mark over claims of high shipping numbers for Chromebooks.

            1. Faking shipping numbers comes from manufacturers themselves, not from retailers. When has Amazon ever even been accused of faking sales figures? Go take a look at the sales for top laptops at Amazon (or others retailers that rank). They’ve all shown a HUGE surge for Chromebooks.

              Now, those rankings could be faked I guess, as a first for many of these retailers, but take a look at the comments. The Chromebooks have HUGE volumes of comments. Next take a look at the commenters, they all have extensive histories, not “just created and single comment” profiles.

              All of this coincides with Chromebooks getting spec bumped and price dropped with even non-special pricing coming down to under $200 for the top selling Chromebook on Amazon.

              Really, to accuse NPD’s numbers of reflecting channel stuffing when the evidence of actual sales is so incredibly obvious just completely baffling. NPD could be off, but the actual sales numbers are still going to be incredibly high.

              Usage stats are a totally different. If a platform goes from 0% to 10% market share in a month, assuming all usage is similar across platforms, then the usage share bump will be much lower than 10% because of all of the other devices purchased in the previous months still being in use.

              However, in this case, I believe the actual usage for the Chromebook will be much lower than other platforms because the very devices that are selling so high are the crappiest Chromebooks that are more impulsively purchased and won’t be used as much, nor as broadly (inherently they can’t). And I’m not just talking about local use, I’m also referring to any use where ads are served such that the usage shows up in reporting.

              All of this has happened before. We saw the exact same thing with Netbooks. Their cheap prices resulted in high volume sales, but crappy experiences, and relatively extremely low usage metrics despite being more connected dependent or oriented.

    1. Doesn’t matter, it’s all about price. There are a lot of poor people in America who need some sort of computing device. Nobody wants to go to the library every time they want to go on the internet.

      If all you want or need to do is go on the internet, email, basic word processing, than the ChromeBook is a viable option, especially if you’re broke.

      Me, I’m not so broke, MacBook Pro, Mac mini with a high end photo editing monitor, iPhone, and iPad Air. I’m not poor, but if I was, I’d definitely consider a ChromeBook.

      Let’s keep it real and realize a lot of people are less fortunate than others. Lucky for them, there are solutions like cheap Android phones, inexpensive Tablets like the Kindle, etc. Apple has complete control of the high end which will never break much beyond 25%, but as long as they keep produce super high quality, innovative product like they’ve been doing, that’s ok. Nobody is even close to matching Apple. For the rest, it’s a race to the bottom.

  3. No wonder Ballmer ran away with a big pension, he saw a head ache coming and after the butt fcuk he got from apple iOS he didn’t have the stomach for a kicking from google. As usual, Samsung is involved, as they make the PC for the chrome books, i am not so surprised

  4. Things don’t look good for MS do they? They have a better product than Chrome sure, but are still somehow blowing it big time. How the heck did things get this bad for them? Does it rhyme with Dahmer?

    1. Well when your CEO looks like an Uncle Fester with simian behavior, flings chairs like a child throwing a temper tantrum, and has the social skills of an Orangoutang, what do you expect? Moles have more vision than Ballmer. This guy has been out of his league from day one. He’s the product of the luckiest college roommate assignment in the history of the US.

  5. Some may wish to “save money” but, for me, I’ll spend the money for high quality, reliable, high proformance desktop, laptop, tablet and phone products from a company that cares about my security and privacy so I can use those products for a very long time and get what I need to get done quickly. Anyone know such a company? 🙂

  6. Let’s see how many of the “Chromosome-impairedbooks” get returned when the people who bought them find out that the P.O.S. is basically useless when internet access is unavailable…..

  7. There is a class of user for which the technology does not matter. They base their decisions on no research whatsoever. They decide based on what similarly clueless friends tell them, what the salesperson in the store tells them, what color the product is, if its cheaper, and so on. I have a friend I’ve been pushing toward iPhone for years. She’s finally ready to buy, but has decided on android for one reason… Swype.

    Her primary use for the phone is texting so that’s what matters to her.

    People can rationalize anything.

  8. Of course, I’d like to see the destruction of Microsoft as much as the next mac user, but I think all we are seeing is the ‘net book’ phenomenon again – it’s the same, cheapskate PC user buying the same cheap laptop.

    They don’t understand what an OS is, so they just buy a cheap laptop.

    When they realise what it is, sales will go over a cliff again, just like they did with laptops.

    Who knows, we may soak up a few of these deluded few with a MacBook Air sale, but it won’t be many.

    If you make a cheap laptop, the same group of cheap consumers will come, but it’s not sustainable, the same companies will go bankrupt again, the only winner is the company who makes the OS, this time it’s google.

  9. I would be more concerned with the declining share of iPad sales and increasing share of Android and Windows tablets caused no doubt by the disgust felt by many potential customers over the ugly and repulsive iOS 7 redesign, an effort so unnecessary that it’s like Custer thinking that he would administer the coup-de-grace at Little Big Horn but got scalped instead like a bald Jony Ive.

    1. @Kill

      Your ranting about iOS 7 is tiresome, in the extreme. It’s not going to change back. Get over it.

      And, by the way, many tens of millions of people disagree with you.

      1. I wouldn’t call a 75% adoption to iOS 7 a failure. If it was so bad, people would have stayed on iOS 6. If you switched to 7, there are solutions to go back to 6. The fact that people aren’t clamoring to go back to 6 pretty much negates you point. 7 really isn’t that bad. I’ve adapted to it, and I’ve grown to like it a lot. Sure, it can use some aesthetic tweaks, and I’m sure we’ll see them in future updates. Get over it.

        1. You categorically cannot go back to iOS 6 once you have upgraded your iPhone/iPad to iOS 7. There are zero solutions for going back to iOS 6.

          You are wrong in that regard. The only exception is in the case of an iPhone 4. So your statement saying that if people were so dissatisfied with iOS 7, they would have gone back to iOS 6 is categorically and absolutely wrong from a technical standpoint. Going back to iOS 6 is an impossibility as Apple will not sign off the certification of authenticity that will enable iOS 6 to run on your iPhone/iPad.

          The rest of your statement is therefore unreliable and has no validity. With regard to the 75% adoption rate, this is a false argument as users have no choice of whether to stay with iOS 7 or go back to iOS 6.

          See the following resources:
          http://www.iphonehacks.com/2013/09/cannot-downgrade-ios-7-ios-6-1-3-ios-6-1-4.html
          http://readwrite.com/2013/09/24/apple-ios-7-no-downgrade#awesm=~orsL6XuzRuq7QC

        1. Meanwhile Apple makes the profit of nearly all other PC industry OEMs combined, whether we’re talking computers or tablets. Percent of market share in any industry means nothing in business unless the company can convert that marketshare into profits. The margins on these Chromebooks are a pittance, perhaps even losses. The suppliers will price cut themselves out of that business before long, and Apple will still be selling 10s of millions of computing devices per quarter and raking in the profit of all of them combined.

          1. The article links show increases in Android tablets and Windows tablets. Virtually all of those sales increases were with minimal profit. Cheap Android based tablets and Windows tablets selling at near give away prices now. Percent of units sold is a completely meaningless piece of data.

            1. Excuse me. I said minimal profit. The Win tablets created a $900 million loss write off. I didn’t go research the Android tablet profit/loss strory, but it’s likely nearly as sad.

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