Why is Microsoft scared of Chromebooks?

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Of course, it’s not just about the hardware: Microsoft appears to be wary of the Chrome OS‘ threat to Office and their apps, a threat that could undermine one of Redmond’s most important revenue streams. Google’s laptop operating system is a tweaked version of its Chrome browser, running across PCs, Macs, iPads, and Android tablets. It supports the same series of web apps that Google is trying hard to push developers to create, and it also provides access to the web services that Google offers free of charge. Google Drive isn’t a replacement for Microsoft’s full suite of Office apps, but it does provide lightweight equivalents perfectly usable for basic tasks. In Microsoft’s latest ad, Office is used as a selling point for Windows 8 machines over Chromebooks. It’s a somewhat protective move to help keep consumers hooked on Office, and it feels similar to the same approach used to initially push Surface RT.

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And that all brings us back to Scroogled, Microsoft’s long-running anti-Google campaign that recently kicked into high gear with branded merchandise. The effort is spearheaded by Mark Penn, a Democratic political operative best known for running the presidential campaigns of Bill and Hillary Clinton. The idea behind Scroogled is to instill fear in consumers over how Google uses their data. Google poses an existential threat to Microsoft’s profitable products, but to give away its free alternatives Google sells advertising — a fact that most people greet with a shrug, though Microsoft has made it the centerpiece of an escalating series of attacks.

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