Google Pushes Chrome Further Into the Enterprise

Posted on May 24, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud with 21 Comments

Google Pushes Chrome Further Into the Enterprise

Google this week announced a set of updates for its Chrome web browser that are aimed at speeding its adoption in Microsoft’s key market, the enterprise.

“Chrome is not just for personal use,” Google’s Matt Blumberg explains. “With more than 200 browser management policies, industry-leading security and regularly scheduled updates, Chrome is also built for enterprises.”

I’ve often described Google as Microsoft’s worst nightmare, and this is a great example of why that is so. As Google notes, enterprise usage of Chrome—which is, by far, the most often-used browser among individuals—has doubled over the past two years.

What Google doesn’t say is that this time frame maps neatly to the amount of time in which Windows 10 and Microsoft’s new web browser, Edge, have been in the market as well. And sure enough, Chrome’s growth has come largely at the expense of Microsoft’s browsers. (Usage in Firefox has also grown during this time frame.)

In just the past year, Chrome usage has grown by 10 percentage points, from 49 percent to 59 percent. But usage in IE has fallen from 32 percent to 18.4 percent. And usage in Edge has basically been flat, moving from 5 percent usage to 5.6 percent over this time period.

Of course, that usage is for all customers. What Google is highlighting this week are two new initiatives aimed at driving even more usage in the enterprise: The Chrome enterprise bundle and official support for Citrix and Microsoft virtualized environments.

The Chrome enterprise bundle includes multiple tools in a single download that IT admins need for a simple, managed deployment, Google says. This bundle includes the latest version of the Chrome MSI (a managed installer), the Chrome Legacy Browser Support (LBS) extension, and administrative policy templates.

The LBS extension for Chrome is particularly interesting since it allows IT administrators to configure their employees’ computers so a legacy browser (read: IE) will load when they click a link that requires such a browser. This neatly bypasses any compatibility issues with legacy intranet sites.

The Chrome enterprise bundle is included in G Suite subscriptions, and it provides customers with 24 hour email and call support, Google says. Non-G Suite customers can obtain support for the bundle for a fee.

As for Citrix, the firm’s XenApp virtualized application technology is ubiquitous in the enterprise, and it now officially supports Chrome.

“With official Citrix support for Chrome, we’ve invested heavily in joint product development, engineering, sales, and marketing,” Citrix director Vipin Borkar says. “We are seeing the returns with continued customer success and large-scale adoption, particularly in industries such as retail and healthcare.”

Google is also supporting running virtualized instances of Chrome on Windows Server with Terminal services, the search giant notes.

You can learn more about running Chrome in a virtual environment—XenApp or Windows Server—at the Google Support website.


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Comments (21)

21 responses to “Google Pushes Chrome Further Into the Enterprise”

  1. Breaker119

    Is the Chrome increase in percentage because of Android dominance or are mobile and desktop Chrome kept separate? I still strongly believe that many of the perceived benefits of Chrome are not for the normies. For instance, of all the normies I know, most don't use Chrome and those that do or have don't use any extensions (or even know what they are).

  2. hrlngrv

    Does Edge support Java yet? If not, there's Intranet software which it can't handle. That's enough to make it pointless in some enterprises.

    As for IE, it hasn't been upgraded since IE11. Lots of patches, perhaps, but don't expect any more features, and IE never had the add-in support Chrome and Firefox have had for years.

    MSFT is leaving the enterprise browser market wide open for Chrome and other browsers. MSFT either needs to give up chasing consumers with Edge and start figuring out what enterprises want, or it's time for IE12. Maybe MSFT needs more time before it's forced to admit Edge won't be a major browser. Another year or two? Two quarters after Windows 7 reaches EOS?

    • rmlounsbury

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      Google and Firefox both pretty well killed off Java by dropping extension support. I always find myself firing up IE in compatibility mode for all my enterprise switches and our phone controller which is also Java based. Having Java based devices that need a Java runtime friendly browser is making life more difficult by the day.

  3. naikrovek

    Based on what I've been seeing from Microsoft, they are barely interested in the Enterprise, anymore. They are nearly completely focused on other things, probably Azure and O365 for the most part.

    • rmlounsbury

      In reply to naikrovek:

      I would say that Microsoft is still very strongly interested in the Enterprise and more than even are heading to that ground. I think they are taking a shot at the creative professional crowd right now and probably have more focus on this than the Enterprise at the moment but ultimately Enterprise is always a factor.

      But, if Microsoft can some how take the creative professional/developer crowd from Apple's domain that would be a huge thing to pad the bottom line in the wake of the PC and consumer space slowly withering on the vine.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to naikrovek: I'm confused. O365 and Azure are targeted at consumers?

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to SvenJ:

        Well, Office 365 Home and Personal are noncommercial, so presumably for consumers.

      • naikrovek

        In reply to SvenJ:

        ok, I need to clarify. MS is spending very little time implementing Enterprise features for Windows 10 PCs, in terms of enterprise friendliness, specifically. There are lots of things that make great sense for consumer-run Windows 10 PCs, and are kind of hostile to enterprise deployments. My employer spends millions upon millions of dollars per year on Windows PC licenses, and we get next to zero representation within Microsoft as thanks.

  4. PeteB

    Funny how for years the MS zealots and bloggers mocked Chromebooks "Lol nobody buys these", "I've never even seen one". Fast forward and Google is slowly and systematically devouring Microsoft's key markets like a python.

    Very dumb decision of MS to limit Edge to one version of one operating system, and making it a crappy UWP mobile app to boot. It'll never be accepted for any serious work and people only use it once to download Chrome.

    Micosoft joining IBM and Oracle in the tech dinosaur museum is inevitable but let's hope Google pushing into Enterprise and hopefully PC desktop forces Microsoft to at least build a proper successor to 7 - free of all their bloatware and telemetry - before they go.

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to PeteB:

      That's funny. I think any chance of Google realizing penetration into Corporate enterprises in a meaning full way (market share) has evaporated with Windows 10 S. It is a much better value proposition on all levels and a Chrome Book integration into Windows networks only adds another layer of complexity while Windows 10 S ease's it. Quote me on it in 2 years - too little too late for Google.

  5. Bats

    Like I have said in the past, the web is no longer just a browser. It's a platform. This is what Paul failed to see, years ago when he mocked Google Docs as a web platform by calling it "word processing on a browser." Ya know...even the great Bill Gates saw the potential of the webs years ago, when he was President and CEO of Microsoft. I remember reading years ago, how Gates experienced Netscape Navigator and realized the potential of the world wide web. This led to the creation of IE (free) and the takedown of Netscape.

    Today, experiencing software can no longer be placing a disc on a computer. installing, and using it. Now, it's just log on and go.

    Microsoft got too complacent with the browser market. They allowed change to happen and Google in.

    IMO, the only way MSFT can stop this is too develop Edge to exist on all platforms.

    Microsoft people make such a big deal about Chromebooks, often overlooking the fact that the Surface or any Windows 10 laptop can easily be transformed into a Chromebook. MSFT should not allow Windows organization to be dependent on Chrome. Once they do, they can easily...EASILY...move to the Chrome OS and thus ultimately, Chromebooks.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to Bats: "IMO, the only way MSFT can stop this is too develop Edge to exist on all platforms." On what other platforms? ChromeOS, Linux, Mac? I find Edge to be just fine, but the street view says it's not. So who would install it, unless its reputation improves substantially. What would it take for someone to load Edge on ChromeOS, which is essentially Chrome in the first place. Linux would be a tough sell. That crowd is often using Linux because they are avoiding MS in the first place. Macs are left, but since they come with Safari, you would need to convince people to install Edge, instead of Chrome, if they choose to not be faithful to Apple.
      To me it makes more sense to make MSs offerings in Windows, including Edge, sufficiently compelling that people don't choose the other platforms to begin with.

      • Jeff Jones

        In reply to SvenJ: To me it makes more sense to make MSs offerings in Windows, including Edge, sufficiently compelling that people don't choose the other platforms to begin with.

        Android and iOS aren't going away anytime soon and one reason people use Chrome is because it can sync bookmarks and passwords between all platforms.

        Making a compelling product such as a web browser that runs exclusively on Windows 10 is basically an oxymoron. But, even if it was possible, at the moment Edge doesn't seem to even sync bookmarks between two copies of Windows 10, and that's kind of ridiculous.

        • siko

          In reply to Jeff Jones:

          I have multiple windows devices. Don't experience any of the perceived inconveniences ...

          Well, I don't have a google phone... so that's my luck ;)

          I know many have... I think MS got them covered or soon will.

          Google is not about great technology. It's about flashy features and 'free' this and 'free' that... until it proves them to be not enough personal/interesting data to gain.... then there is the next 'free' that....

          MS is doing great lately... my devices rock. And have been rocking very decent for at least a decade... I'm one of those that waits and see when/where google will fail... because getting peoples data and by dumping half baked technology on the market sooner or later results in a mess too big to clean up.

          • offTheRecord

            In reply to siko:

            "then there is the next 'free' that...."

            This is the nature of the technology beast these days. Everyone plays this game in one form or another (call it "freemium" or whatever), even Microsoft. No company is going to continue products that don't earn their keep (and tech companies, especially software tech, tend to have fairly high margin requirements when it comes to deciding what the "keep" is -- breakeven or a small profit won't cut it). Unless a product has strategic importance, if it doesn't take off fairly quickly I wouldn't expect it to be around very long.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to SvenJ:

        I figure the idea would be Edge for Android and Safari since Edge for Windows phones no longer matters since Windows phones no longer matter.

        As for compelling, apparently speed and low power usage aren't sufficient to give Edge and advantage over Chrome. Maybe few people use Chrome add-ins/extensions, but they may perceive a need to be able to do so. Maybe irrational, but too damn bad. The market is speaking, and it ain't calling for Edge.

        • VancouverNinja

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          I can't agree less, most people just use Chrome simply due to them having it. Edge is the superior browser for 98% of the world, my opinion ;-) . I think MSs strategy with Windows 10 S is brilliant in this regard and Googles arrogance will most likely see then not make a proper app that adheres to MSs security requirements - which will backfire on them. Times are a changing again and this time the momentum is with MS not Google or Apple.

          • hrlngrv

            In reply to VancouverNinja:

            Had Windows RT been somewhat less of the abject failure it was, there might be some limited basis for expecting Windows 10 S to gain modest user share. However, given MSFT's actual experience with Windows RT, odds are that most (> 75%) of those who purchase new PCs with Windows 10 S in 2017 will upgrade them to Windows 10 Pro.

            As for Chrome, how many new PCs come with Chrome preinstalled? If not many, then there are multiples more people who go to the effort of downloading and installing Chrome, even under Windows 10, than follow the path of least resistance and use Edge.

            In the browser market, numbers of users matter. Chrome has substantial numbers, Edge doesn't. Like it all you want, but you're in a minority.

  6. robincapper

    My surprise discovery this week is that Chrome can't render a Tiff file. Bizarre when dumb old I.E. can!

    Uploaded a tiff to a cloud service which handles design files (scan drawings to tiff is a common thing) and it just showed an icon in Chrome. Open the same page in IE and the image is displayed fine. Thought it was the cloud service but it was the browser failing

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