On February 12, 2014, at the VMware’s Partner Exchange meeting, VMware and Google announced a joint marketing effort. Filip Verloy sums up the effort in a sentence: “Yesterday at VMware’s Partner Exchange (PEX), VMware announced that it is joining forces with Google to modernize corporate desktops for the Mobile Cloud Era by providing businesses with secure, cloud access to Windows applications, data and Desktops on Google Chromebooks” (quoted from a blog post authored by Filip Verloy and posted to his filipv.net web site. I’ve provided a link to the complete post at the top of this paragraph).
A lot of analyst commentary has been produced about this announcement as an indicator of Microsoft slipping further out of the commanding position in the enterprise IT desktop computing market.
The argument goes like this: the Chromebook is more of a native BYOD device than, for example, an ultrabook from Dell or HP (I don’t buy this). Enterprise IT organizations, staring at an April, 2014 sunset date for Windows XP, can purchase Chromebooks (which are, admittedly, less expensive than Dell or HP Ultrabooks, but not so cheap when compared with ASUS product) in lieu of substantially more expensive hardware upgrades. A new, virtual, Windows 7 Desktop, and the Office suite, can be consumed through the VMware Horizon DaaS running on the Chromebooks. The end result: Enterprise saves money on the hardware, but do they really save money on the Windows 7 and Office licensing? I’m not so sure.
A related argument notes how the VMware Horizon DaaS & Chromebook solution will open access to otherwise prohibitively expensive Microsoft Office applications for emerging markets. This argument is certainly compelling, but once again, aren’t we talking about sales of more licenses for Office and Windows, for Microsoft, into these emerging markets than would otherwise be the case?
I also wonder why the same solution can’t be achieved with Windows Azure on the backend and Microsoft’s Hyper-V running on barebones ASUS or HP laptops powered by Intel Celeron processors. Conclusion: I think the VMware Google joint effort is a great way to extend the accessibility of the Microsoft Windows O/S and the Office Suite.
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