Google’s Chrome OS and Chromebook computers are a bit hit among students from high school through college, thanks in no small part to their extreme affordability, ease of use, and overall simplicity. Yesterday, Microsoft announced Windows 10 S, a stripped-down version of its ubiquitous operating system designed with students in mind, along with the sleek, lightweight Surface Laptop. With Microsoft making such an obvious attempt to impose on the Chromebook market, you might expect Google to be on the defensive. Well, they’re not, and in an interview with Business Insider, one Google executive even boasted that Microsoft’s announcements were “validation.”
Google’s Prabhakar Raghavan, vice-president and head of G Suite apps, told the website that Windows 10 S and Microsoft’s overall strategy is just proof that Google is already doing the right thing when it comes to computers. “I’m happy to see validation of the approach we’ve taken,” Raghavan said. “What educational institutions have demanded is simplicity. It’s a real test tube for all of us, whether it’s Microsoft or any of us, right.”
Judging by what we saw on stage from Microsoft, Google is probably fairly safe in assuming that its Chromebook business is safe, at least for the time being. Microsoft has chosen to go with a remarkably locked-down approach with Windows 10 S, including the inability for the user to change their default web browser (Microsoft Edge is the default) or even their preferred search engine. On top of that, the Surface Laptop, at $999, is twice (and in some cases three or four times) as expensive as some perfectly capable Chromebooks.