Google and VMware offer Chromebooks access to Windows apps

Microsoft has been running TV ads recently that show Chromebooks can't access apps such as Office or other major Windows-based programs. Now Google is trying to show that the inexpensive Chromebooks can offer some owners access to the Windows desktop and its programs via a new remote service that is being offered by another Microsoft rival, VMWare.

In joint announcements, Google and VMWare revealed plans to give business and enterprise users a way to access Windows-based apps from Chromebooks via VMWare's Horizon Desktop as a Service program. The subscription-based service is already available for businesses that own Chromebooks by accessing VMWare's VMware Horizon View 5.3. Google will also release support for the service via an app from the Chrome App Store.

In its blog post, Google made note of the fact that many businesses have yet to upgrade their PCs beyond Windows XP, which will stop receiving support and updates from Microsoft in less than two months. The blog states, "As the countdown to Windows XP end of life continues, deploying Chromebooks and taking advantage of a DaaS environment ensures that security vulnerabilities, application compatibility and migration budgets will be a thing of the past." NPD recently reported that sales of Chromebooks to commercial customers in the U.S. took up 21 percent of all laptop sales in much of 2013.

While connecting Chromebooks to Windows desktop and apps is certainly possible, it remains to be seen if VMWare's solution will allow these budget notebooks to run these applications efficiently in a virtual environment. There's also the fact that businesses will have to pay extra to access the service in the first place.

Source: Google and VMWare | Image via Google

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Bah.... Screw that I'll stick with "Chrubuntu" with "wine" on my celeron bases chrome book, I know you'll ask "why get it if you just ran Linux, why bit buy a windows laptop?" Well this acer chrome book was a freebie I got while I was working at a local computer shop, the laptop was a quarter if the pay I got.

Even if it's not a freebie I have a lot more respect for people intelligent enough to buy Chromebooks and install Linux on them. Far better than a stupid browser any day. No comparison.

Chikairo said,

It's a product aimed at large businesses and enterprises where the cost savings have been already well documented. It's an awesome technology too and works on just about any device you can imagine. Even the mobile client (to access a VM using say an iPhone) works far better than I would have expected.

I think it's only inertia, fear of the unknown, and a little bit of just 'this is how we've always done it' that prevents more companies from looking into it as a solution. But I also think with more companies, including VMware themselves, offering Desktop as a Service, it'll start to gain some more traction in the next couple of years.

I'm hoping we start to push it more where I work. For the majority of office workers, a thin client and a Horizon desktop is a really decent offering. Means you can just resume your desktop on any device in any location. And we already have solid VMware experience as we've been doing ESX/ESXi for about 6-7 years.

I love my chromebook. It's great for web browsing, email, video streaming, remote desktop, and also works great with Citrix! For the price it's been awesome. Got mine used for $100!

A lot of people are missing the point of this. That is understandable because most folks miss the point of Chromebooks to begin with.

Chromebooks are just an endpoint. Their purpose is to provide a practical delivery mechanism for SaaS. The only problem is that MS doesn't offer the full Office suite in SaaS form. You can get limited versions of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint through Skydrive but not the fully featured office suite. That is where VMware/Desktone DaaS comes in. It is just there to offer the apps that MS doesn't push on their SaaS. It bridges the gaps. Also, there is no need for a VDA license because this DaaS service isn't offering up full Win7 desktops. Instead they are pushing Windows 2008 Servers that are reskinned to look like Win7 desktops. No VDA license needed.

But Microsoft can kill that in an instant. Just offer the full office suite through a SaaS delivery model. IMO that is going to happen fairly soon. The fact that MS put their top cloud guy in as the new CEO means everything is going to cloud. The only reason MS hasn't done this is to preserve revenues from Windows. Win8 and Surface are partly meant to protect that revenue stream but it hasn't been nearly as successful as they had hoped. IMO Windows will evolve into an application platform for SaaS on both public and private clouds but I can also see it going into other directions. We will just have to see what the new CEO decides on the future direction of the company.

Interesting times..

Silly. If you're going to do this get a cheap RT device and use RemoteAPP. Own your own server, install all your business apps (not just what Google and VMware offer) and keep your information private. You get a LOT more functionality, like your business applications show as icons or tiles, open directly, and you have the option to save locally and still use Word, Excel, Powerpoint & Outlook locally.

No comparison.

I guess if you already have the infrastructure in place it sorta makes sense. Thin clients cost 3-400 as well. If you don't it really does not make sense.

Nice. Said it before, Chromebooks can really explode this year especially with more and more being added to them. Keep the same price point or close to it.

I dont understand the hate and why people are scared of them other than it being a Google device. Dont like the devices and dont want them, dont buy them. However, many can and will find a use for them.

techbeck said,
Nice. Said it before, Chromebooks can really explode this year especially with more and more being added to them. Keep the same price point or close to it.

I dont understand the hate and why people are scared of them other than it being a Google device. Dont like the devices and dont want them, dont buy them. However, many can and will find a use for them.


People aren't scared of them. They just don't want a device that's pretending to be something that its not. Only the truly ignorant non-tech savy people buy these things because they don't know any better.

Gotenks98 said,

People aren't scared of them. They just don't want a device that's pretending to be something that its not.

How is it pretending? It is stated all over the place the purpose/usage for these devices and what is required. it is more Google hate than anything and people who do not see/have a use for these devices and because of it, they think it is crap or useless.

Ignorance comes in to play when someone buys something and doesnt do their research to make it is the correct device for them.

Gotenks98 said,

People aren't scared of them. They just don't want a device that's pretending to be something that its not. Only the truly ignorant non-tech savy people buy these things because they don't know any better.

Sorry, but only those who are totally blinkered can't understand that there are use cases for technology beyond what they need. Seems to be the fashion around here to trash ChromeBooks, mostly by the died-in-the-wool Microsoft "hardcore" but if you guys can't see the potential and usefulness of a laptop like the Chromebook you're extremely short sighted.

With so much moving into the cloud now, and the dependence on traditional 'fat' operating systems such as Windows steadily eroding, does it not seem entirely plausible that people can simply exist on a lightweight machine with a tiny operating system? Assuming you're one of these folks who only ever work in place where there's WiFi and only depend on cloud apps, do you see no benefit in having a tighter, lighter, secure operating system on your computer that requires less patching, and can be updated or restored in seconds, and has far lighter hardware requirements than something like Windows?

Yes - they're not for everyone, nor do they pretend to be. But they're certainly quite acceptable for the light home user, and I can see ChromeOS gaining wider adoption in the enterprise especially since VMware View / Horizon client recently became available for ChromeOS.

Come on guys. Wake up.

LMAO, if you want to run Windows Apps, buy a real laptop or a Microsoft Surface Pro if you want it in tablet form. Google thinks organizations will buy their crappy Chromebooks to do VDI. Essentially RDP to a server containing VMWare based VMs with a licensed Windows desktop OS like Windows 7 or Windows 8 installed in the VM.

VDI solutions already exist, and Microsoft already kicks butt in that domain. Plus VMWare is hurting bad these days and their days are numbered. The future is the cloud and VMWare can't compete with the likes of Windows Azure.

But hey, that set aside, do enterprise customers really want to buy into something that will be closed down at random after Google decides it's not making enough money in that market segment, like all the other services Google closes on what seems to be a weekly basis.

if you're talking about something like an ERP system correct. But let's say you want to run a local app win32 which doesn't need a constant internet connection, well, you get scroogled.

Microsoft should be worried about this deal.

Chromebooks battle on the price point to lure customers in. By adding the possibility to run Windows software, they make their offer more attractive to buyers with non-technical knowledge.

I still believe Chromebooks and its OS are trash but who cares about my opinion. When it fits the customer needs, it is a success, whatever the technology.

TheCyberKnight said,
Chromebooks battle on the price point to lure customers in. By adding the possibility to run Windows software, they make their offer more attractive to buyers with non-technical knowledge.

I'd be more curious as to what the service actually costs... they won't even list their prices, you have to contact a sales rep first, not a good sign but judging by their other hosted services, it's not going to be cheap. Attractively priced device maybe but to get it fully usable as a work device you're going to have to pay a hefty subscription fee. Sounds much more cost effective to not deal with those fees, pay a little more and get a real notebook and be done with it.

Finally, after reading some details from a popular blogger, it seems the whole VMWare thing may not be as interesting as it sounds.

The apps would be hosted on the cloud by WMWare and delivered to you with an RDP style front end. And it would be some key apps.

Still, Microsoft should start to worry. Just a bit less than originally thought.

TheCyberKnight said,
Microsoft should be worried about this deal.

Chromebooks battle on the price point to lure customers in. By adding the possibility to run Windows software, they make their offer more attractive to buyers with non-technical knowledge.

I still believe Chromebooks and its OS are trash but who cares about my opinion. When it fits the customer needs, it is a success, whatever the technology.


I agree that its trash too. The only people I know who have these so far have been students and I make sure they see the scroogled video everytime I see one of these come into our office for support. I tell them anything beyond getting wifi is unsupport and that they need to get a real pc that is the minimum standard the school has already put in place.

TheCyberKnight said,
Microsoft should be worried about this deal.

Chromebooks battle on the price point to lure customers in. By adding the possibility to run Windows software, they make their offer more attractive to buyers with non-technical knowledge.

I still believe Chromebooks and its OS are trash but who cares about my opinion. When it fits the customer needs, it is a success, whatever the technology.


But won't VMWare have to license Windows from MS? And its a sub, so in the long run won't it ultimately be more expensive?

TheCyberKnight said,
Microsoft should be worried about this deal.

Chromebooks battle on the price point to lure customers in. By adding the possibility to run Windows software, they make their offer more attractive to buyers with non-technical knowledge.

I still believe Chromebooks and its OS are trash but who cares about my opinion. When it fits the customer needs, it is a success, whatever the technology.


Using Microsoft apps and OS's still requires someone, end user or VMWare, to purchase Microsoft licenses.. So Microsoft still makes money. Why again should they worry? They're not a hardware manufacturer in the PC space..

Probably a good move. I don't like the Chromebook concept or the fact that Google is behind it, but I'm starting to understand why Microsoft seems so scared of them...

CJEric said,
Probably a good move. I don't like the Chromebook concept or the fact that Google is behind it, but I'm starting to understand why Microsoft seems so scared of them...
Other than people getting duped into believing they are buying a real computer I don't see any reason to be scared.

A bit stupid. Why would I buy this trash and then remote to my desktop to use windows applications? It will be slow and eat up bandwidth for no reason.

Soldiers33 said,
A bit stupid. Why would I buy this trash and then remote to my desktop to use windows applications? It will be slow and eat up bandwidth for no reason.

It supports the BYOD move that is currently taking over enterprise computing.

LogicalApex said,
It supports the BYOD move that is currently taking over enterprise computing.
I always love this statement. I've yet to see this in practice other than supporting user's phones and tablets.

MrHumpty said,
I always love this statement. I've yet to see this in practice other than supporting user's phones and tablets.

I work for a large company (15K employees) and they are planning to start BYOD for laptops next year. I already am required to do all my work on my company issued laptop via Remote Desktop.

I am sure remoting into some secure company environment is going to become the norm. It consolidates IT resources and saves the business money by offloading part of its equipment costs onto the employee.

LogicalApex said,

It supports the BYOD move that is currently taking over enterprise computing.

yeah because BYOD doesn't include windows notebooks apparently...ROFL.

LogicalApex said,
I work for a large company (15K employees) and they are planning to start BYOD for laptops next year. I already am required to do all my work on my company issued laptop via Remote Desktop.

I am sure remoting into some secure company environment is going to become the norm. It consolidates IT resources and saves the business money by offloading part of its equipment costs onto the employee.

I understand the plus side arguments. The counterpoints are a) employee's have to provide their own computers if they choose poorly that can cause problems b) Network security c) Tech support for the end user falls on the end user.

Controlling the device offers significant advantages too. Which is why you haven't seen many companies do it. Do I expect employers to do it to small portions of their workforce, perhaps. But I don't see it becoming the norm.

Soldiers33 said,
A bit stupid. Why would I buy this trash and then remote to my desktop to use windows applications? It will be slow and eat up bandwidth for no reason.

exactly, they are just doing it for sake of doing it. google also know this ###### worth nothing.

Because your boss has IE 6 apps that are too critical to ever change and can never be upgraded.

With this it means we can leave XP. Virtualization will ensure Xp and IE 6 and 7 can run for decades and centuries to come.

JPMorgan has the same COBOL app from the 1960s for all home mortgages where the source code was lost some 40 years ago. It runs on an emulator in an emulator in another emulator. If it aint broke don't fix it.

neonspark said,

yeah because BYOD doesn't include windows notebooks apparently...ROFL.

Where did I suggest that it doesn't include Windows notebooks? BYOD would be the employee bringing their device so it would require the business to be able to wall off its environment while also supporting more than just Windows.

In reality, people aren't buying Chromebooks. They are buying Macs. But it doesn't matter really. The point is the business needs to become device agnostic to support BYOD.

MrHumpty said,
I understand the plus side arguments. The counterpoints are a) employee's have to provide their own computers if they choose poorly that can cause problems b) Network security c) Tech support for the end user falls on the end user.

Controlling the device offers significant advantages too. Which is why you haven't seen many companies do it. Do I expect employers to do it to small portions of their workforce, perhaps. But I don't see it becoming the norm.

My employer is rolling it out for the entire 15K person workforce... And we are a decently sized public company.

Wouter52 said,
ROLF Your turn, Microsoft!
You can already do this on Windows devices. The difference is... you don't have to use windows software. Cause you know, it's Windows.

neonspark said,

*tries to run local win32 app*
ROFL your turn google.

Actually if you are sick of XP and die hards afraid of change and supporting obsolete versions of IE then this is welcomed.

IE 6 and XP are going to be around forever at work. WE WONT EVER CHANGE. Why? Our business processes are aliagned to a piece of IE 6 software and we fired all our finance and accounting and billing folks and rely on this proprietary IE 6 app to run the company.

We can't upgrade as it does things in non GAAP (general accounting) styles and ways and generates reports and excel files. Another piece of software functions different iwth the same tasks. We do not have the employees anymore to run the company, ship the products, or keep the books going besides a skeleton crew.

The last recession make about 85% of all large companies function this way.

Virtualization is the answer as your grandkids will be running that app guarantee it! If it aint broke do not fix it.

This is one example out of many. So running XP and IE 6 forever in a VM in a non internet enabled session is the only way we will EVER update. This is how all IT departments operate.

sinetheo said,
Actually if you are sick of XP and die hards afraid of change and supporting obsolete versions of IE then this is welcomed.

IE 6 and XP are going to be around forever at work. WE WONT EVER CHANGE. Why? Our business processes are aliagned to a piece of IE 6 software and we fired all our finance and accounting and billing folks and rely on this proprietary IE 6 app to run the company.

We can't upgrade as it does things in non GAAP (general accounting) styles and ways and generates reports and excel files. Another piece of software functions different iwth the same tasks. We do not have the employees anymore to run the company, ship the products, or keep the books going besides a skeleton crew.

The last recession make about 85% of all large companies function this way.

Virtualization is the answer as your grandkids will be running that app guarantee it! If it aint broke do not fix it.

This is one example out of many. So running XP and IE 6 forever in a VM in a non internet enabled session is the only way we will EVER update. This is how all IT departments operate.

You can RDP from XP. I'm also pretty sure there are receivers for VDI outfits.

MrHumpty said,
You can RDP from XP. I'm also pretty sure there are receivers for VDI outfits.

How long until hardware wont support it? Virtualization is what this app is and running it in one is going to have to be the wave of the future. Shoot IBM mainframe apps are still alive and kicking for many decades. Some companies have tried to redo the apps multiple times and failed each time.

XP is the new mainframe app of old and these things live forever.

sinetheo said,

Actually if you are sick of XP and die hards afraid of change and supporting obsolete versions of IE then this is welcomed.

IE 6 and XP are going to be around forever at work. WE WONT EVER CHANGE. Why? Our business processes are aliagned to a piece of IE 6 software and we fired all our finance and accounting and billing folks and rely on this proprietary IE 6 app to run the company.

We can't upgrade as it does things in non GAAP (general accounting) styles and ways and generates reports and excel files. Another piece of software functions different iwth the same tasks. We do not have the employees anymore to run the company, ship the products, or keep the books going besides a skeleton crew.

The last recession make about 85% of all large companies function this way.

Virtualization is the answer as your grandkids will be running that app guarantee it! If it aint broke do not fix it.

This is one example out of many. So running XP and IE 6 forever in a VM in a non internet enabled session is the only way we will EVER update. This is how all IT departments operate.

My workplace moved from XP a long time ago. We have been running Windows 7 for a while now.

sinetheo said,
How long until hardware wont support it? Virtualization is what this app is and running it in one is going to have to be the wave of the future. Shoot IBM mainframe apps are still alive and kicking for many decades. Some companies have tried to redo the apps multiple times and failed each time.

XP is the new mainframe app of old and these things live forever.

I get the feeling you don't know how lightweight rdp and most vdi solutions are. They run on phones to thin clients etc.

IMO the question is what's the point in buying chromebook if you're going to use windows apps anyways. Also any company that had the need to use windows apps on chromebook could do so before too.. it's called remote desktop, so basically what google and vmware are doing is just some bs solution that existed before too and there is nothing new here.

My guess also is that you will need to buy a windows license as well?

If thats the case you can get a ton of laptops that can run a browser just fine and have windows on them for less than 350...