VMware Partners: Google's Enterprise Ambitions Shine Through In Chromebook Partnership

Google has been trying to crack into the enterprise market for some time, but judging from the dearth of detail it has provided about how things are going, its progress has been slow.

Now Google is partnering with VMware, which has a Sasquatch-like footprint in the data center, in a deal the companies are pitching as a way for enterprises to skip the PC refresh cycle and run their Windows apps and desktops on less expensive Chromebooks instead.

In an interview with CRN earlier this week, Erik Frieberg, vice president of marketing for VMware's end-user computing unit, said enterprises love the simplicity of Chromebooks but haven't been able to run legacy Windows apps on them.

[Related: Microsoft's Latest Anti-Google Strategy: Training Partners To Sniff Out Unhappy Google Apps Customers ]

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Using technology from VMware and Google, now they can "help these organizations virtualize their infrastructure, and then deliver it out through HTML to every desktop," Frieberg said. "You can get your entire Windows desktop right on your Chromebook."

Enterprises today can use Windows desktops and apps on tablets and notebook using VMware's View software. Now they can use VMware's Blast protocol to let users access them on Chromebooks, Frieberg said.

As logical as that sounds, two VMware partners told CRN they're not seeing much demand for this type of scenario from their customers. They think the VMware-Google partnership is more about rattling the cage of enterprise rivals than it is about meeting the needs of enterprise customers.

"Basically, they're marketing the Chromebook as a thin client to access a View desktop. But the problem is that it's bound to the HTML5 client. While this is the way of the future, that method of access still leaves a lot to be desired in its current form," said the partner, who didn't want to be named.

Another VMware partner, who also didn't want to be named, thinks Google, in its quest to develop enterprise channel relationships, will be forming more of these kinds of partnerships with other vendors. Last year, Google partnered with Hewlett-Packard to deliver a small business hardware and software solution to small businesses.

At VMware's Partner Exchange conference earlier this week, Google sponsored the "hang space" section of the expo hall, where Chromebook signage was prominently displayed. VMware partners couldn't recall ever seeing this level of official participation from Google at the event.