Google is removing some of the roadblocks that got in the way of enterprises adopting Chromebooks, with new features aimed at improving security and control for IT admins.
Today, in addition to announcing an extended partnership with VMware for Workspace ONE integration, Google has announced Chrome Enterprise – a new license that offers a variety of features, including single sign-on support, and managed OS updates.
Starting in September, Chrome Enterprise licenses are available for $50 per device per year. See the full list of features of Chrome Enterprise as compared to Chrome OS below:
One of the new Enterprise features is full compatibility with on-premise infrastructure through Microsoft Active Directory, which allows employees to use native credentials to authenticate across devices and Google Cloud Services. This feature also enables centralized management of user and device policies for IT admins.
Google said customers including Whirlpool Corporation and Rentokil are already using Chromebooks within their respective organizations.
“At Whirlpool Corporation, we want technology to empower employees to do great things. Chrome OS has helped our organization do just that by enabling employees to be their most productive, whenever and wherever,” Andrew Lewis, Senior Manager, Global Information Systems for Whirlpool said. “Utilizing cloud-ready devices, specifically Chromebooks and G Suite, has fostered a safer, more secure, and faster user experience for both customers and employees.”
According to Fortune, Chromebook users at Whirlpool are still a small minority – less than 5 percent of the 33,000 users. Ten percent of users in its marketing and creative departments use Apple machines, while the rest run Windows PCs. But for the savings on hardware costs and the simplicity, the company sees more Chromebooks in its future.
Chromebook shipments are projected to reach 10.9 million units in 2017, up 16.3 percent compared to 2016, according to Gartner. In 2018, shipments of Chromebooks will total 11.9 million units, up 8.6 percent.
In June, Microsoft released a couple of videos that sought to show how Windows 10 outperforms Chrome OS for business users. A report by The Verge called Chrome OS “the biggest threat to Windows’ existence right now, simply because Google’s business model is devices that are cheap to buy and easy to use.” This statement may have more weight to it now with the introduction of Chrome Enterprise, but it seems that for the foreseeable future, most enterprises will have a mix of devices.