Microsoft (MSFT) Still Dominates Notebooks...for Now (GOOG)

March 15, 2013 8:55 AM EDT
When is the last time you heard that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) was struggling against Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT)? If you're an average consumer, the answer is probably never.

Digitimes points out today that the search giant is lagging behind in one key area: operating systems. Not mobile operating systems, mind you, as Android is the dominant player in that arena. The reference here is notebook and PC operating systems.

Taiwan-based ODMs and vendors told Digitimes that Microsoft would easily continue to be the dominant player in the global notebook market for the next one to two years, even as Google works to integrate its Chrome OS with Android even further.

Key barriers that obstruct Google include compatibility and consumer usage habits. With Microsoft's Windows OS on millions, if not billions, of notebooks and PCs, many are still used to the format as well as programs like the Microsoft Office suite.

Digitimes-sourced data pegs total Chrome-equipped notebook shipments from Acer at about 500,000 units. That's a fair number, but it amounts to well under 1 percent of the total market. Should Google be able to improve the operating system and get more users to utilize tools like Google Drive, Google+, and Google Docs, only then will the company be able to make a larger splash in the segment.

That's not to say Google hasn't already been planning for this; Android chief Andy Rubin stepped-down from his role earlier this week and Google announced several changes that would push for further Chrome integration.

One Hillside Partners analyst recently ran a survey to determine just how much interest there is in Chromebooks. He noted that, "at current prices chromebooks could carve a niche with personal users for Internet and email, but too many respondents use native apps like Microsoft Office extensively for chromebooks to reach a mass audience at this time....This is likely to change over the long-term..."

So, Microsoft, you're now on watch.

Microsoft and Google are both indicated for a higher open Friday.

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