Chromebook Sales Threaten Microsoft and Apple Inc.

Google Chromebook Sales

Google Chromebook Sales

New sales figures on Chromebook sales from January to November 2013 are in from NPD Group Inc. (formerly National Purchase Diary), a consumer market research group. NPD claims that Google’s OS-based Chromebooks grabbed approximately 21 percent of the entire notebook market in 2013, making them a serious threat to Microsoft and Apple Inc.

Back in 2012, sales of Chromebooks were estimated to only account for and insignificant amount that was less than one percent of the entire notebook market. The latest 20 percent jump in market share this year is one of the largest increases across many markets according to the NPD.

The biggest players in the notebook game are of course Microsoft and Apple Inc. Both companies must be a bit concerned over Chromebooks’ new market share. Microsoft has already launched a smear campaign trying to deter people from making the switch to a Google OS. To add to their concern, more manufacturers of notebooks have recently decided to ride the new wave of Chromebook sales and have started to manufacture their own brand of Chromebooks.

When Chromebooks first hit the market they were met with doubt from the general consumer that the new concept in computing would ever leave the ground. Obvious to the NPD reports, this consumer doubt has subsided and done so at a fairly large rate over the last year.

The 2013 sales figures for Chromebook have taken their toll on Microsoft’s sales and according to NPD, Microsoft experienced a zero percent growth in their sales since 2012. Apple Inc. has also had a total of a seven percent decline in their desktop and laptop sales combined. Unlike Microsoft, Apple has not commented or responded to the new Chromebook threat.

According to the NPD’s stats, Chromebooks accounted for 1.76 million units sold in the last 11 months. This is a huge improvement from the previous year’s records that only showed 400,000 Chromebook units sold.

In a recent press release, Amazon confirmed that Chromebooks snapped up two of the three top spots for their holiday’s best seller status this season. The two top sellers were Samsung and Acer with their Chromebook version. Both manufacturers have multiple models of Chromebooks and it was unclear which actual models topped Amazon’s sales.

Amazon currently lists Acer’s C720 Chromebook as their top selling laptop computer and Samsung is listed as second. The third top selling notebook goes to Asus for their Transformer Book T100, which is actually a laptop-tablet hybrid running Microsoft Windows 8 and not the Chromebook OS.

What attributed to Chromebook’s success is that Google gives free licenses to distribute the Chrome OS to manufacturers. With the cut in OS cost, manufacturers are able to pass on the savings to the customer which makes the less expensive Chromebook a lot more affordable and attractive to buyers.

Another advantage to having a Chromebook is that the web-based Chrome OS doesn’t require high specifications to function. Having no need for the manufacturer to use expensive top-of-the-line technology, this is another cost saving advantage that Chromebook has to offer over their competitors.

A third factor that may have pushed Chromebook sales is the bad rap and criticizing that Windows 8 has been receiving from the public over the last year. This has consumers seeking other alternatives to the standard Microsoft or Apple Inc. OS’s. While some Windows 8 customers were screaming for Microsoft to give them back their start button, other consumers were walking out of stores with a new Chromebook in hand.

Whether Chromebook sales will continue to increase in 2014 is anyone’s guess. In order to further threaten Microsoft and Apple Inc., Chromebooks will have to break free from the home-user category and start to look towards taking away some of their business and corporate markets.

By Brent Matsalla

PC Mag

12 thoughts on “Chromebook Sales Threaten Microsoft and Apple Inc.

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  2. @Tim Richardson
    The numbers definitely do not include sales to schools, because they are direct sales, not channel sales. Sales of Chromebooks to schools (most business sales as well), are direct sales from Google because they have to be preconfigured to allow them to be managed remotely via the Google Apps for Domain tools for the particular Google Domain that the school or business uses.

    I think what they mean by commercial sales is sales of the devices as an item rather than for example renting them out, or including them as part of a contract.

    If Chromebooks really did capture 21% of the channel sales to the business sector which is Microsoft’s stronghold, then Microsoft is in deep trouble, because it sure as hell isn’t going to be able to hold on to its consumer market share against tablets and Chromebooks.

  3. “Chromebooks will have to break free from the home-user category and start to look towards taking away some of their business and corporate markets.”
    In fact the NPD survey showing 21% market share is the education and business channel, not consumers. Those strong Amazon sales may indicate growing consumer awareness, but the survey behind this article indicates growth in the corporate sector. Note the data indicates Apple has only 2% market share approx: in the consumer sector it’s much bigger. If Chromebooks are really doing 21% in the professional channel, they could be doing quite well in the consumer channel. I think Chromebooks are great, but it is very hard to believe this figure: it was only a few months ago that the SSD 9 hour battery life models were launched. If Chromebooks did 21% with such strong models on the market for only a few months, 2014 is going to be spectacular. But I think it would be wise to see if someone can corroborate this market share result.

  4. I bought a Chromebook earlier this year and frankly I hated it. For the most part the Apps are garbage on ChromeOS and littered with advertising. I think the lure is really only the price, and we saw this very same thing with Netbooks a few years ago. Where are the Netbooks today? LOL! IDK nothing compares to rich apps that augment to the internet to have the most enriching experience. As far as threat, I don’t see it. It might affect Windows sales temporarily, because Microsoft sells in volumes, but I am sure those will rebound back. This doesn’t affect what Apple is doing for Macs which is based on the quality experience vs. quantity, so it doesn’t even compare or matter to Apple. Funny one of the guys at Best Buy said “yes we do sell a lot of these Chromebooks, but we also get a lot of these Chromebooks returned as well.” So we shall see where it stands in 2014.

  5. I converted my wife to Ubuntu about 2 years ago and she has no regrets. Everything she needs and uses is web accessible, so which OS she runs is immaterial. I think Chromebook has a great shot. I’ve tried Windows 8, and it is really awful.

  6. Another important feature, IMHO. The UEFI is not locked to one OS. While any microsoft or Apple OS is much too large to fit on the tiny hard drive, Several versions of Linux will load on a Chromebook. Now you have full featured laptop.

  7. Just got done reformatting my Mom’s Windows laptop for the holidays. It’s an annual event for me when I visit home b/c it runs so slow after a year of heavy internet usage. 🙁 Looking to get her a Chrome laptop for next Christmas. Mac is crazy expensive and not worth it. Just gotta figure out how she can print from it and it will be under next year’s Christmas tree (and the Windows laptop will be in the trash).

  8. Doesn’t Google also have an online version of Microsoft Office? I mean, it’s a pretty tempting laptop for the price. If you only use a laptop for the web that is. I like my Macbook Pro but I do mostly just use the web so I can see myself definitely considering a Chromebook someday.

    1. Yes they do Chad, they have Google Docs. There are some limitations, like more advanced spreadsheet formulas are not available, but for most functions Google Docs works fine.

      Thanks for reading the article!

  9. I love my Chromebook! I only wish the outside world accept transmissions from this operating system. Google rocks!

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