Unless you’ve been keeping close tabs on the Chrome OS world, you might not be familiar with Neverware. Last year, the company made a rather tempting offer, to run Chrome OS on top of existing Windows or Mac computers. And while unofficially supported, it has just gotten the blessing of the big G itself. Neverware just announced that they received some funding from Google to bring that same technology into the enterprise, which nicely coincides with Microsoft’s recent push to get Windows 10 S into that same space as well.
The race is on between Google and Microsoft for school and enterprise markets. While Microsoft has traditionally been king of the enterprise and Apple lord of schools, both companies have seen their hold slowly give way to Google’s Chrome OS, partly because of the lower cost of Chromebooks, partly because of the admin controls Chrome OS offers, and partly because of the prevalence of the Web even in these circles.
But sometimes even the cost of Chromebooks can be beyond the means of some institutions, both schools and businesses. This is especially true when considering you have to purchase new Chromebooks, as those are the only devices that officially have Chrome OS installed. That is definitely a waste when there are perfectly serviceable, though older, hardware already available in schools and businesses.
That’s where Neverware’s CloudReady comes in. Based on the same technology as Chrome OS, CloudReady is optimized to run on existing computers, especially those with more constrained hardware resources. The appeal is that you don’t need to buy new Chromebooks or even upgrade older hardware just to get the benefits and device management capabilities of Chrome OS. This investment from Google, however, is earmarked for Neverware’s expansion into the enterprise market, which also pits it directly against Microsoft’s new “Firtline Workers” target.
Just a few weeks ago, Microsoft announced new laptops running its locked down Windows 10 S that are meant more for the enterprise than for students. But while Microsoft may have a bit of advantage in terms of more familiar software, like Microsoft Office, Windows 10 S severely limits the software you can install to just those found in the Windows Store. Plus, without something like CloudReady, Windows 10 S can only be acquired together with a Windows 10 S laptop and not a separate purchase.