Google Trawls For Windows XP-Chromebook Converts With Help From VMware, Citrix

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Google is teaming up with VMware and Citrix on a couple of promotions aimed at getting Windows XP customers to skip PC upgrades and buy its business-focused Chromebooks instead.

The Google Chromebook promotions, unveiled Tuesday, are for business customers that are still tethered to Windows desktops and legacy apps but may be ready to try out a different hardware experience.

From now until June 30, organizations that buy Google's business Chromebooks will receive a $100 discount for every managed device they buy, Amit Singh, president of Google's enterprise unit, said in a blog post.

[Related: Despite Windows XP Deadline, Microsoft Partners Say XP Migration Business Isn't Drying Up]

Customers will get a $200 discount on their business Chromebook purchase when they sign up for a VMware desktop-as-a-service subscription, which ranges from $35 to $50 per user monthly depending on configuration.

Customers that buy Citrix's XenApp Platinum Edition, which comes with AppDNA, a type of Windows XP migration software, will get a 25 percent discount off the price of their business Chromebooks. Citrix charges $600 for a concurrent license for XenApp Platinum Edition; on a per-device basis, it's priced at $350.

Google's business Chromebooks range in price from a $199 Wi-Fi-only model from Acer to a $349 3G model from Hewlett-Packard. Access to Google support, and a web-based management console for Chromebooks, costs an additional $150 per device.

Although Microsoft is no longer supporting or releasing security patches for Windows XP, the 13-year-old OS still accounted for 27 percent of worldwide web traffic during the month of March, according to research firm Net Applications.

Michael Coté, lead infrastructure analyst with 451 Research, New York, said Google's promotions with VMware and Citrix are mostly about portraying Chromebooks as viable business tools.

Coté said the huge number of Windows apps still in use -- which range from older packaged software to custom written applications used inside the confines of corporate firewalls -- is something Google has to account for as it tries to drive Chromebooks into the mainstream.

"Rewriting all of these applications to be pure HTML or native iOS and Android is sort of ludicrous at this point, so as things like BYOD and the spread of iOS and Android devices in the enterprise plays out, companies will need some way of accessing these Windows apps," Coté said in an email.

The Chromebook promotions are the latest example of Google aligning itself with enterprise vendors to gain legitimacy for Chromebooks. In February, Google unveiled a partnership with VMware to let Windows apps, data and desktops run on Chromebooks. Earlier this month, Google and Cisco teamed up to bring WebEx and other Cisco Unified Communications apps to Chromebooks.


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