Data Shows That Chromebook, Mac Sales Are Eating Into Windows' Share

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 29, 2014

There is new data out showing that Chromebooks--portable computers based on Google's cloud-centric Chrome OS platform--are continuing to eat into Microsoft's share of the portable computing market. The NPD Group is out with research that shows that during the 10-week period from July 4 to Sept. 1, both Chromebooks and Mac portable computers eroded Microsoft's share.

Chromebooks only had a measly 3.3% share of the market in 2013, but jumped to 4.5% this year, a 36% rise.  Meanwhile, Apple's Mac portables accounted for 26.8% of all retail sales to consumers for the same period. 

Windows system sales dropped from 72.3% share in 2013 to 68.4% in 2014, according to NPD data.

As reported here during the last days of 2013, holiday sales numbers for Chromebooks--portable computers based on Google's cloud-centric Chrome OS platform--were very strong.  They are expected to be strong again with the holidays looming now.

However, there are signs that the market for Chromebooks is not completely favorable in terms of profit margings. Samsung has reportedly shuttered its Chromebook business in Europe, following in the path of Sony, which stopped selling its Vaio units there recently.   Chromebooks, which sell for ultra-low prices, may not offer the kinds of profit margins that big companies like Samsung seek.

School systems around the U.S. are purchasing Chromebooks for students, a trend that Google could subsidize and one that is reminiscent of Apple's strong focus on the education market from years ago. Westwood High School in Massachussetts is buying Chromebooks to issue to students who will return them once they graduate. The Bell-Chatham school board has approved Chromebook purchases for students, as has the Sumner School District

The upcoming holiday season will go a long way toward showing how Chromebooks will fare in the portable computing market over the next couple of years, but the low-cost systems are holding their own despite the very low profit margins that they offer manufacturers.