Yesterday, on April 8th 2014, Microsoft finally lay Windows XP to rest. The operating system that bought PC software a splash of color and promised to bring computing into the 21st century. Released in 2001, we doubt Microsoft had planned to keep supporting XP for 12 years, but a number of things forced their hands. Chief among them was the disaster that was Windows Vista, then there was the whole netbook thing (Microsoft couldn't let Linux actually run on hardware sold to real people now, could they?) Fast forward to today and there's still roughly a quarter of the world's computers running on Windows XP, which is pretty alarming to say the least. More alarming however, is that a lot of these are business users and ATMs up and down the country (which are apparently safe thanks to big deals with Microsoft to keep them supported).
To truly bring these users into the 21st century, Google is giving business users some enticing discounts on Chromebooks. You're probably wondering just why you would want a Chromebook for business use, after all, they're just web browsers, right? Well, that might be true at the core of things, but I'm using a Chromebook right now to write this article and business users can enjoy Google Docs, Sheets and Drive to collaborate on work and then there's the security side of things, too. Chromebooks, being built on Linux, are immensely secure compared to a Windows XP machine and they're also excellent communication devices, with decent speakers built for interacting with others. You can even plug in your own Logitech Webcam for better conference call performance.
So, to bring people into the Cloud Computing fold, Google is offering some incentives when you purchase Chromebooks for Business. Enrolling into Chromebooks for Business before June 30th will get you $100 off each Chromebook you purchase for your business. Now, for those that will need to access to specific applications that will only run on Windows Google has partnered with VMWare and Citrix for some offers, too. There's $200 off VMWare Desktop as a Service and there's 25% off of Citrix XenApp Platinum Edition, both great ways to access legacy software from a Chromebook. The offers are good until June 30th, which is a decent time window to decide if Chromebooks are right for your business.
Obviously, Chromebooks won't be replacing desktop computers around the office any time soon, but I personally think they're an excellent second machine. For me, my HP Chromebook 14 is great for writing as there are fewer distractions, it boots in seconds and the keyboard layout isn't cluttered with legacy keys I never use. For personal users, Best Buy is also offering $100 off of a new Chromebook when you take in a Windows XP laptop (yes, it has to be working).
If you're looking for a Chromebook for yourself, the Acer C720 is a great buy at just $199 from Amazon and if you're looking for something bigger, HP's Chromebook 14 (my personal favorite of the bunch) can be had for just $249.99 from Amazon.