Now running on a Chromebook near you: Windows

Now running on a Chromebook near you: Windows

Low-cost Chrome OS-powered laptops like HP's new Chromebook 14 can now run enterprise Windows software, if your company purchases support from VMWare.

Armed with rising Chromebook sales, Google and VMWare have partnered up to allow legacy Windows software to run on Chrome OS, the companies announced on Wednesday.

The deal will allow Windows-only enterprise software, such as accounting applications, to work on Google's low-cost Chrome OS laptops and desktop boxes. With most of its line priced at or under $300, Chromebook laptops have jumped in sales, capturing 21 percent of US notebook sales and 8 percent of the total PC and tablet market in 2013. That's up from negligible market share the year before, reports NPD.

Up until now, Chrome OS has been unable to run anything besides Web sites and the HTML5-based Chrome Web Apps. That's left many businesses in the lurch, perhaps attracted to Chromebook's affordability, centralized management console, and lower security risks but unwilling to lose access to core business applications.

Combine those positives with Microsoft's Windows 8 stumbles and the impending end-of-life of the decade-old Windows XP, and Google hopes that it has an opening to attract businesses looking for a new approach to workplace computers.

Businesses can purchase access to VMWare's Horizon Desktop-as-a-Service to run on Chrome OS. At first, it'll be available only as an on-site service, although a Chrome Web Store app is in the works.

When placed in light of last week's news that Google is targeting conference calls and video meetings with Chromebox for Meetings, and it becomes apparent that enterprise sales are far more than a mere side project for Chromebooks.

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