Google Poses A Challenge To Microsoft With Its New Enterprise-Grade Chrome Operating System

Looking to penetrate deeper into the enterprise, Google on Tuesday introduced a business-ready version of its popular Chrome operating system.

Chrome Enterprise adds new features to Chrome OS, including enterprise app storefronts, more security controls, and round-the-clock support. It also integrates with popular endpoint and identity management solutions from VMware and Microsoft.

Chrome Enterprise product manager David Karam blogged, "with the added capabilities Chrome Enterprise provides on top of Chrome OS, many businesses are eager to deploy Chrome further across their organizations to connect more users securely to the cloud."

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Chrome OS, the lightweight operating system that powers the line of Google authorized Chromebook laptops and tablets, leans on the Chrome web browser as its primary interface to apps and data.

Chrome Enterprise integrates with VMware Workspace ONE, a unified endpoint management solution, to enable management of all Chrome devices—owned by companies or employees—from a single console. Workspace ONE is the first third-party solution that can manage Chrome devices.

"This collaboration combines the speed, simplicity, and security of Chrome with the cloud-based unified endpoint management of VMware AirWatch," Karam said, referring to the virtualization leader's mobility management software leveraged by Workspace ONE.

On the identity management side, Chrome Enterprise is the first version of Google's operating system fully compatible with Microsoft Active Directory. The Active Directory integration allows employees to use native credentials to authenticate Chrome devices, and admins to centralize user policies, Karam said.

Aric Bandy, president of Agosto, a Minneapolis-based Google partner, told CRN the latest Chrome edition would help partners push more Google solutions into the enterprise.

The new operating system offers a unique set of features that Fortune 500 CIOs have been asking for, he said. 

"It all drives cloud adoption," Bandy told CRN.

"We sell a lot of Chrome and Google has been evolving Chrome into a true enterprise solution that's challenging Microsoft."

The new operating system, along with the enablement of virtual desktops, shows Google is "changing the operating system game" much as the company has done with the office productivity suite through its G Suite product.

That's bad news for Microsoft, Bandy said, because the world's largest software company derives much of its profits from the Windows operating system and Office productivity suite.

"A $50 per year OS solution will dramatically change things," he said of Google's new offering. 

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