Google to business XP users: We'll give you $100 to buy a Chromebook

Google is wasting no time luring XP business users to Chromebooks: It's offering them $100 off every Chromebook purchased through Google's Chromebooks for Business program, in addition to other financial incentives. Does Google have a chance sweeping in XP owners, or is this just a PR ploy?

The same day that Microsoft ended support for Windows XP, Google announced its rebates on its Official Enterprise Blog. Here's the heart of its pitch to switch from XP to Chromebooks:

In addition to the nearly 30% of desktops still running XP, many businesses are in a tough spot. Despite "significant" security and privacy risks, legacy software or custom-built apps have held businesses back from migrating in time for today’s XP support deadline. Companies in this position now find themselves at a timely crossroads.

It's time for a real change, rather than more of the same. Chromebooks for Business offers you a secure and easy-to-use computing experience, along with a central web-based management console and lower total cost of ownership.

Google then makes its offer: Buy a Chromebook for Business and get $100 off the price of each managed Chromebook. In addition, it's made a deal with VMware to knock off knock off $200 for Chromebooks that use the VMware Desktop as a Service.

In real money, what does this mean? The Chromebooks for Business service sells not just the hardware itself, but web-based managed console services for businesses to deploy and manage Chromebooks across an enterprise. At the moment, there are eight Chromebooks that businesses can choose. An unsubsidized Acer 720 Chromebook, for example, costs a total of $350, which breaks down to $200 for the Chromebook itself, plus $150 for the management console and support. With $100 off that, it means $249 each. Other machines are more expensive, such as the HP Pavilion Chromebook, at a total of $480 for both device and console and support. That means $380 per machine after the $100 off.

Those are solid deals for enterprises willing to bet on Google. But it also means giving up Microsoft Office, other Microsoft technologies, and Microsoft support and management tools. For that reason, I don't expect the offer to snag a great number of businesses still using XP. But given the low price, there's no doubt that some will make the plunge.

So although this was in part a PR move on Google's part, it was also a serious business offer. But it won't make much of a dent in the substantial hold that Microsoft has on many corporations. For that to change, Google will have to do much more than just offer $100 rebates. It'll need to convince businesses that Google offers a better platform for businesses than Microsoft. And it has a lot of convincing to do.

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