Although Google-related applications have grown in popularity, many businesses still rely on Microsoft Office to get work done. While Google Sheets is a great application, for really robust features, you can't beat Microsoft Excel (at least in my opinion). There are many features used by accountants and data analysts that are just not available on Google Sheets. To hedge, many professionals actually use both Google and Microsoft Office applications on a regular basis -- and require access to both from their PCs.
Meanwhile, the trend towards ultra portability is extremely important to professionals on the go. They may have a full-size laptop or desktop in their office when they need to get a lot of work done, but they also require something portable they can use to work while on a trip, out visiting clients, hanging out at a coffee shop, or as a bridge between home and the office. When the first ultraportable laptops arrived on the scene several years ago, they were a huge hit! Professionals have quickly realized, however, that they don't need a lot of power on the go, and are now opting for lower powered devices like Chromebooks to get work done remotely.
What About Microsoft Office for Google Chromebooks?
One glaring black hole, Microsoft Office's limited availability on some Chromebooks has, in some cases, hindered the devices from really taking off -- as most ople still require the use of Office products.
Now that the full suite of applications is available on all Chromebooks it will be interesting to see if more business professionals adopt Chromebooks into their arsenal of devices.
There are a few great features of Chromebooks that make them attractive options for professionals.
- Low Cost - Most Chromebooks are inexpensive. It's a much easier pill to swallow than a full robust laptop, especially if you will need to justify the expense to upper management, who may not see a need for a more portable option.
- Long Battery Life - Chromebooks also have a great battery life. You can get up to 12 hours on one charge with many of the models. The operating system is so lightweight that the device is able to use the battery more efficiently than other devices.
- Security - Chromebooks keep themselves pretty up to date, and since the operating system is so locked down, there is very little chance for viruses to infiltrate the device. This isn't to say it can't happen, just that it is rare.
With the addition of Microsoft Office availability, I could even see businesses choosing to use Chromebooks for many of its employees. There is already a trend towards thin clients and desktop applications in the cloud. Assigning devices like Chromebooks to the majority of the employees can significantly reduce costs as they use them to access cloud desktop applications.
Chromebooks are already a significant majority of the devices within the education system, and it seems like it may be just a matter of time before they become just as popular in the business sector. With the wide availability of Microsoft Office on Chromebooks now, the last major barrier to this adoption may now be removed.
On a side note, a company called Itopia works closely with Google to support virtualized Windows desktops in Google's cloud. That's not the same as Office on Chromebooks, but it's a close cousin in some ways.