Give Google credit for sticking with its Chromebook platform despite a somewhat slow start and initial lukewarm reception. Over time, consumers are starting to see the value in these cloud-oriented systems, and they’re proving particularly popular in schools. According to Google, schools bought more than 1 million Chromebook systems in the second quarter of 2014. David Andrade, CIO for the Bridgeport Public Schools district, explained in a guest blog post on Google’s Enterprise portal that the low cost of ownership and easy maintenance clinched the decision to stock up on Chromebook systems.
As parents and college students gird their loins and budgets ahead of back-to-school season, Google’s Chromebook laptops appear poised for a strong showing. Its sales have had strong momentum as we head toward the end of the summer and into the fall, particularly in the education arena. In the second quarter, schools purchased more than 1 million Chromebooks, according to Google. On top of that, a recent report from market research firm NPD Group spotlights the strength of Chromebook commercial sales, which rose 250 percent year-over-year in the U.S. from January through May. As Chromebook sales pick up the pace, NPD reports that Windows notebook sales were flat during the same period, while MacBook sales rose 20 percent. Microsoft appears ready to slash prices to compete with the Chromebook’s strong sales: A $199 Windows 8.1 laptop is reportedly set to hit the market this fall. If you need more evidence that Microsoft is feeling the heat of the Chromebook’s increasing market share, take a look at its dedicated “Chromebooks vs. Windows laptops” page, which extols the productivity virtues of the latter.