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Microsoft Tackles Chromebook, Again

Microsoft Tackles Chromebook, Again

You can't handle the truth

Can't get enough of Microsoft shining the harsh light of reality on Google's limited Chromebook systems? Then you'll enjoy this new Microsoft video, which stars Ben Rudolph (of Ben the PC Guy fame) making man on the street comparisons of a Chromebook vs. a Windows laptop.

Polling people on the street, Ben asks people what they do on their laptops. The answers include such things as Photoshop, Illustrator, Word, Excel, PowerPoint

"Google says the Chromebook is everything you need in one laptop," he says. "It doesn't run Photoshop ... or Illustrator."

The response? "It's not practical."

The video also highlights the inability of certain Chromebook apps—like Google Docs—to run while the machine is offline. "Ouch," one guy says when shown the screen."

But the best exchange, perhaps, is this one: "Is that everything you need in one laptop?" he asks a woman.

"I don't think there's anything I need in that laptop," she says. Which is pretty much the point.

But Rudolph also implicitly addresses one of the faux complaints about Microsoft's previous "Scroogled" video about the Chromebook: He doesn't just make fun of the limitations of the competition, but he also shows off a Windows-based device, in this case the Windows 8-based ASUS T100, which costs about the same price as the HP Chromebook he was using previously—"about $300"—but has three times the storage and does so much more, including having a break-off screen that can be used as a multi-touch tablet.

Anytime the Chromebook stuff comes up, I get the same nonsensical complaints. "Microsoft is negative," etc. But I think this kind of thing is both correct and important, and as I've pointed out elsewhere, the Chrome browser is actually more powerful on Windows than it is on a Chromebook. For example, you can create taskbar-based web app pins for any site in Chrome for Windows, something you can't do on the Chromebook. Weird.

I'll also add this: If you are a Chromebook fan, at least accept the fact that Microsoft's attention is in some way at least complimentary. It takes Chromebook seriously enough to address it as a competitive threat.

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