NEW YORK: ACER VP Jerry Kao believes that the growing popularity of Google Chromebooks is becoming a threat to Microsoft and should have the company on its toes.
During an interview with The INQUIRER, Kao spoke about Acer's shift to Google's Chrome operating system (OS), with the firm having slammed Windows 8 last year as a "disappointment" to the entire PC industry.
Acer, which teased the first Intel Core i3-powered Chromebook at an event in New York on Wednesday, is continuing its focus on Google Chrome, Kao said, which it sees as a "huge opportunity" in both the education and business market segments.
That doesn't mean the firm is giving up on Windows 8. After all, Acer unveiled the Windows 8-powered Aspire Switch 10 hybrid device on Tuesday and Kao said that he believes Microsoft has fixed a lot of issues with the OS with its recent Windows 8.1 update. However, the Acer VP maintained that Redmond should be worried, calling Google's Chrome OS a huge threat to Microsoft's PC operating system.
"Microsoft should worry a lot," Kao said. "I think that more and more people, when they start to use a Chromebook, are realising that it is a good operating system. I don't believe it is limited, it offers a great browser experience.
"More and more people are picking Chromebooks as their first laptop, and that worries Microsoft a lot. I think in the end, two industry giants are going to be fighting for the market, and I think that's a good thing for the consumer.
"Google is good at promoting the Chromebook, and I think it will become a huge threat for Microsoft," Kao added.
While the rise of Chrome could be a worry for Microsoft, Kao foresees an odd shift in laptop buying habits, predicting that within a few years, people will own both a Chromebook and a Windows device, due to devices becoming cheaper.
"When people are browsing, they will use a Chromebook, but when they need to be productive, they will use a Windows netbook," he said.
"With prices of these devices coming down, I think users will have both a Chromebook and Windows laptop in the future." µ