Chromebooks and Office 365 together will challenge Windows laptops

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BySteven J. Vaughan-NicholsforLinux and Open SourceDecember 13, 2017 — 20:12 GMT (04:12 GMT+08:00)Topic:Enterprise Software

With Microsoft porting Office 365 to Chromebooks, a big reason to stick with Windows has gone out the door.

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Sure, theres some software that only runs on Windows. But, unless youre running one of those programs, most Windows users no longer need Windows. Heck, Microsoft itself has been moving to a service — rather than a product — business plan for years now. And the company has just moved Office, once and for all, into a multi-operating system service model.

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Its no secret that Im not a Windows fan. Im beginning to wonder if Microsoft isnt either.

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In the past, the automatic answer at most companies to any attempt to switch to another operating system was: But it cant run Microsoft Office. Well, now Chromebooks can.

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Finally, you can get a greatChromebook for only a few hundred dollars.Sure, Microsoft promises that its newWindows 10 Swill be great. What I see though is the next incarnation of arguablyMicrosofts greatest OS failure to date: Windows RT.

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Besides just getting Office, you also get all the other advantages that come with a Chromebook.Chrome OS is more secure than Windows. Its updated with the latest patches and features about every six weeks. Chromebooks are mindlessly simple to use. If you can use a web browser, you can use a Chromebook.

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And running Office 365 on a Chromebook doesnt require any special software, such asCodeWeavers CrossOver. You just download Office 365 from the Play Store on any Chromebook, which supportsAndroid apps on Chrome OS, then payMicrosofts Office 365 subscription fee of $70 a year, and get to work.

Now, youve been able to run the lightweight web versions of Office programs — Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote — on Chromebooks. But they were never that good. Then, Microsoft madeOffice Mobile for Android available, and that also worked on Chrome OS. But, now, Office 365 is up and running — and its the real-deal MS Office.

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The bottom line is that Microsoft has got rid of the single biggest reason why people are still with Windows: MS Office. If you can run Office on a Chromebook, which is safer, more reliable, and cheaper, why wouldnt you? Ill be darned if I can think of a reason for most users.

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In addition, one feature Ive grown to love recently is that, if you lose your Chromebook or dump it in a bathtub, to get all your apps, documents, and settings back, all you need to do is get a new one, then sign in with your Google ID, and in minutes, your desktop is back just as you like it and ready to rock.

Hear me out. On Nov. 27,Chromebook users discovered that Office 365 would run on some of their laptops. To be exact, we now know you can download and run Office 365 on Samsung Chromebook Pro, Pixelbook, Acer Chromebook 15, and the Acer C771.

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There are now more than120 million Office 365 users. Thats about 10 percent of all Office users. Those arent just home users on a tight budget. According to a 2016 study bySkyhigh91.4 percent of businesses with at least 100 users were running Office 365. Usage within enterprises grew over 320 percent as the percentage of employees using at least one Office 365 application more than tripled from 6.8 percent to 22.3 percent.

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