It depends on which PC you’re talking about. Real Windows PCs are suffering the past few years, squeezed by Apple’s Mac in the premium segment, and squeezed by cheap Chromebook wannabes and tablets at the low end. What happens when a Mac user leaves his MacBook Pro and switches sides to an inexpensive Google Chromebook?
What Does It Do?
Apple’s iPad took plenty of heat the first few years as an anemic computing experience, despite setting records as one of Apple’s most successful product launches ever. Unfortunately, the iPad has fallen upon hard times with declining sales.
One of the reasons might be the surging sales of Chromebooks, which range in price from about $300. James Kendrick, a longtime Mac user, decided to dispense with his 13-inch MacBook Pro and make the leap down to a lowly Acer Chromebook 13.
Apparently Kendrick had a few problems running Google’s Chrome browser on his Mac. Well, who doesn’t? Chrome on a Mac is a resource hog which drains a Mac’s battery and crashes much like Flash did when it came preinstalled on all Macs. Hey, is it possible that Google is trying to do what Adobe did by making a resource crash-happy app for the Mac just to discourage Mac users to switch to Chromebooks?
How’s the switch going? He says the Chromebook is great, and the Chrome browser runs faster and is more stable than Chrome running on his MacBook Pro. What a shocker. Google competes by creating a battery hungry CPU hog browser for the Mac, while keeping its best code for Chromebooks.
Is it any wonder that a growing number of people really have come to despise Google? But I digress.
Cheap Is Cheap Is Cheap
Here’s what I see. Chromebooks are attractive because they’re very inexpensive pseudo-PCs that do about what most people do with their Windows notebooks and MacBooks. Email, browse the web, post to social sites online, manage a few photos, and it works on Wi-Fi, has long battery life, and, did I mention that Chromebooks are cheap?
That may explain why iPad sales have dropped at exactly the same time as Chromebook sales have been on the upswing. Hey, a Chromebook usually costs less than an iPad with Retina display (the Chromebook’s screens are not usually Retina; not at those prices), and it does the same thing, right? Uh, no. The iPad has half a million tablet specific apps. The Mac runs powerful applications as well as Windows, Linux, and various flavors of Unix. Which means a much larger array of applications than any Chromebook.
It looks to me that Chromebooks are attractive and useful enough that they could be called a prime reason iPad sales have stalled and dropped. What about the impact on the Mac’s sales? So far, they remain upward, but when that changes, stalls, or drops, I’m willing to bet that someone at Google is smiling and cashing a nice bonus check. Maybe he’s the Google employee who ensures that Chrome on the Mac sucks pond water.