Google Brings Chromebook to the Enterprise

Posted on August 22, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 33 Comments

Google Brings Chromebook to the Enterprise

Today, Google announced Chrome Enterprise, a simple and inexpensive way to manage Chromebook and other Chrome OS devices in larger businesses. Chrome Enterprise builds off previous Chrome OS management tools and adds integration with cloud and on-premise management tools, VMware Workspace ONE, and Microsoft Active Directory.

“Since we launched Chrome OS in 2009, our goal has been to build the simplest, fastest, and most secure operating system possible,” Google’s David Karam writes. “But with so many different business needs—not to mention so many different devices—companies have also told us they want a single, cost-effective solution that gives them the flexibility and control to keep their employees connected. That’s why today we’re announcing Chrome Enterprise.”

The best bit? Chrome Enterprise is just $50 per device per year.

Google has supported Chrome OS with full-featured MDM (mobile device management) capabilities since its initial release, allowing smaller businesses to manage these devices like smartphones or tablets. But Chrome Enterprise expands on those capabilities quite a bit, making Chromebooks and other Chrome OS devices far more suitable to larger businesses.

As Google describes it, all Chrome OS devices provide user preferences sync, cloud and native printing capabilities, multi-layered security with automatic updates, Chrome Remote Desktop, and application virtualization support. And of course, the firm is still trying to add Google Play Store and Android app support to Chromebook, albeit on a much slower-than-expected schedule. (You can see which devices are compatible here.)

But Chrome Enterprise adds a number of additional features. These include a beta version of the managed Google Play Store, managed Chrome extensions and browser management, printer management, Active Directory integration, cloud-based fleet management, single sign-on support, public and ephemeral sessions and Kiosk mode support, managed networks and proxies, managed OS updates, theft prevention, and 24/7 support.

The idea is to let enterprises manage Chromebooks and other Chrome OS devices using the on-premise identity and management system they’re already using (e.g. Microsoft’s Active Directory). And with VMware Workspace ONE, these businesses can also manage and deliver apps to these devices.

“The consumerization of the enterprise has left IT managing multiple operating systems on a variety of devices—some provided by the business and others brought in by employees. As Chrome OS continues to gain momentum, our customers are eager to manage these devices consistently along with all other endpoints including mobile devices,” VMWare senior vice president Sumit Dhawan says. “Using Workspace ONE, our customers will be able to securely manage the lifecycle of Chromebooks along with all their other end points giving them better security and a consistent user experience across all devices.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Chrome Enterprise, Google is holding a free webinar tomorrow, August 23. To register, click here for the U.S. and Europe and here for Asia Pacific.


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Comments (33)

33 responses to “Google Brings Chromebook to the Enterprise”

  1. dbp

    It's interesting to put that cost in perspective. Windows 10 Enterprise can be had for $8/month, or $96/year, before volume discounts. That's less of a differential than I would have expected.

    Edit: Also note that Windows 10 Enterprise E3 is licensed per user, not device, so if people have multiple devices the cost savings goes away. Of course, if multiple users share a device, you're back to standard, non-subscription licensing.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to dbp:

      If Google's US$50/seat/year includes VMWare Workspace ONE, you may need to add on VMWare's licensing costs to MSFT's US$96/year for a truer comparison.

      • JudaZuk

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        As far as I can tell though . Microsoft offers a solution to manage all devices, Google offers a way to manage Google devices only .. I don't see the benefit really as you have to go through google servers to do anything.. you are giving up control to Google that can change or close their solution at any time they are known for doing.

        The benefit with Microsoft is that they offer both Off and On-site solutions, the allow you to manage all types of devices, and even if they close shop tomorrow, you can continue to use their solution "indefinitely"....if you exclude the lack of security updates of course.

        and you keep control of your data, and your customers data.

        you can put some in azure, and some locally , you can even have Azure stack

        With Google you have to give up control to Google.. and without Internet you manage nothing.

        Then the price all of a sudden is high for what you get with Google, compared to what Microsoft offers

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to JudaZuk:

          How does MSFT manage Chromebooks?

          I figure enterprise customers would require written contracts with specific terms for how much Google would reimburse should they close down their service before the end of the contract term. If the reimbursement were sufficiently large, it'd become unlikely Google would shut it down unless it were really hemorrhaging cash.

  2. Tony Barrett

    And so it begins. It won't be next month, or next year, but Google will likely start taking significant parts of the Enterprise away from Microsoft in time. Companies don't need heavyweight, expensive Windows boxes to run mostly web apps, and ChromeOS is way, way more secure and doesn't have all the legacy baggage Windows does. Game on.

    • PeteB

      In reply to ghostrider:

      "And so it begins. It won't be next month, or next year, but Google will likely start taking significant parts of the Enterprise away from Microsoft in time. "

      Good riddance to MS. They've taken users for granted way too long now with crap like the forced telemetry.

      • polymath

        In reply to PeteB: Microsoft is a services company, windows is very obvious stands out in our lives from the time of DOS to windows then NT now UWP,, but that time might be passing,, maybe the Caterpillar is becoming a butterfly ?
        LOOK on YouTube Jan 2017 "Windows 10 New features Edge Continuum Windows Hello" skip >> 20m watch to 27m "Continuum",, Microsoft is probably releasing ARM based x86 emulation machines with 4G LTE internet connectivity with windows 10 ( maybe S) much like the tablet and phone in that 7 mint demo.
        So i think Microsoft is very much alive and transitioning from laptops to tablet's / phones like many of us have made the transition from towers to laptops.

    • Stooks

      In reply to ghostrider:

      "Companies don't need heavyweight, expensive Windows boxes"

      You are correct and at my company 98% of users do not have a computer. They do have Wyse Thin clients that connect them to Windows VDI's or Terminal Server Farms. Those Wyse thin clients sip power and last 10 years. Going with Chromebooks would cost more.

  3. polymath

    and Kiosk mode support, 

    Many Large Android Tablets (Lenovo Tab 3 10.1 Inch), Some Touch Chromebooks the Chrome BIT allows interactive information services to be brought into small shops and business to help workforce or customers to interact with the business or with large TV screens in portrait mode and chrome bit, advertising in shop windows .

    LOOK for "Connected Retail & Devices (Google Cloud Next '17)" on you tube and watch from 17m 30s,, (30m) an example of coca-cola, a 130 year old company embracing this technology in shops, Greg Chambers & a fascinating watch. Highly recommended.


    Look for "Unleash the power of Kiosk Apps" june 2014, a short (6m) introduction, she refers to chrome BOX, there is now Chrome BIT too.

  4. Lewk

    Having had to set up , deploy and manage printers and print servers for chrome OS clients in an enterprise here in Australia, I can say with great distain that it is a horrible, backward and unusable solution. If they're employing more of this backward approach to managing other aspects of enterprise features for chrome OS, then these features are dead in the water.

  5. JudaZuk

    Really, and what onsite management solution do they offer...? none, okay .. so not for many enterprises then

    any enterprise that store customer data on third party servers, and if those servers are with Google.. is no enterprise I would ever want to have anything to do with .

  6. rameshthanikodi

    This might actually make a lot of sense for the Enterprise, and the low cost is definitely enticing to smaller enterprises. But all of the Enterprise's own apps need to be webapps. This is for Enterprises that are fully all in on the cloud.

    • Stooks

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      "But all of the Enterprise's own apps need to be webapps"

      This! Lot's of our apps at work have moved to browser based clients. That said lot's are not. In fact I do not think even one department could move to Chromebooks because all of them have some non-browser based clients. Many of them need proprietary plug-ins that work fine in Chrome but would they work in Chrome OS? Especially if they interact with the file system in some way?

      Another thing is often apps, even browser based apps will generate files that are then manipulated by other applications, mostly non-browser based apps. For example our accounting software uses a browser as a client. However daily multiple people in and out of accounting generate .xls files that they then use Excel to get at. Those files are dumped out to Windows file servers. Macros are often used in those Excel files. Can Google Doc's/Chrome books even support that kind of setup? Does the accounting app support exporting files to a Google Drive??

    • Darmok N Jalad

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      I doubt corporations are looking for lowest cost hardware, but they probably do want the low maintenance of the devices. An employee can't get into much trouble on a ChromeOS device, and even if they do, they are easy to restore. Such hardware wouldn't be for everyone at my workplace, but there are actually quite a few people that could probably get by with them, and they may actually do better thanks to the simplicity. I kinda wonder if Google is just slowly making an entry into this sector, and that's to give the idea of web apps to advance all while they continue to add abilities to the OS. Maybe in 3-5 years, a ChromeOS powered device could get the job done for a high-percentage of people?

  7. Chris_Kez

    Soon there will be no escape from Google.

  8. Mark from CO


    The march against Microsoft's businesses continue, core or not. With the consumer base that Google has, a consumer base that is the employee base of most businesses, I think it is naïve to believe that Microsoft has business markets that are impregnable.

    With all that is going on within Microsoft (step after step on their own feet) and with its competitors aggressive efforts , do you still really think that the cloud is really the safe harbor for Microsoft? A cloud effort that is looking toward consumer and business data flow to be successful.

    Mark from CO

    • wright_is

      In reply to Mark from CO:

      As long as LOB applications are Windows only, Google and Co. will find it hard to get into the enterprise market.

      They only stand a chance when LOB software is re-written, and re-written to be platform agnostic. Given the acceptance of Windows 7 and Windows 10 in the enterprise was slow due to LOB software not being compatible, how are you going to move them off of Windows altogether?

      Much of that software "just works" and has just worked for donkey's years and nobody knows how it works or how to update it, so moving it to a new platform will be very expensive - given that this software often runs into 6 or 7 digit territory for just a handful of users, that is a heck of an investment that companies need to invest in.

      • Mark from CO

        In reply to wright_is:


        Fair point. But what a position to be in. All your competitors are working hard to unseat you in the enterprise. Their advantage - their customers are the workers in the enterprise. (And by the way, Microsoft has relatively few consumer customers). Soon these workers will have no idea who Microsoft is or why they should care. That will include the IT shops. Yes, you are right, it will take many years potentially. But long term, I just don't see what strengths Microsoft has to counter this threat.

        Mark from CO

        • wright_is

          In reply to Mark from CO:

          At the moment, alongiside Linux, they are the only solution for heavy duty work (you can design a new car or a manufacturing plant a lot easier on dual 34" monitors than you can on a 9" tablet or a 13" Chromebook.

          Likewise for on-premises work - a lot of regulatory, financial and data protection rules preclude the use of cloud services, let alone web apps; in Europe, if your personal data (i.e. your customers' names and addresses, supplier information, employee information etc.) gets leaked, you are liable, with very heavy fines and prison sentences in the worst cases for the CEO and IT people.

          If your cloud provider screws up and your data is splurged over the net, then you face prosecution and possibly private law suits for compensation. The cloud provider is out of it, under the law, you are responsible for the data and you were responsible to see that the cloud provider had protected the data properly - when was the last time you got to audit Google or Microsoft data centers? You might be able to sue them for compensation, but it won't do you or your business much good if you are sitting behind bars, because they cocked up. Likewise, you have to guarantee that the personal information won't be stored outside the EU (difficult with some cloud services) and financial information usually has to be held within country borders; or you need a special dispensation from the tax office.

          That means on-prem is still a big plus for Microsoft (and Linux and mainframes) in a lot of places. Likewise a lot of manufacturing is time critical, I used to work on production lines where decisions on sorting products had to be made on a sub 10 millisecond basis, you can only do that with a fast local server and a fast connection. Waiting for the signal to go up to the cloud and then come back down again is often a couple of hundred milliseconds, by which time the product is several metres past the points which can be switched to send it to another destination.

          Some new businesses might be better off, in that they don't need to consider legacy software, but large businesses have huge investments in legacy software and that will cost millions to rebuild on new platforms.

    • MutualCore

      In reply to Mark from CO:

      I have no faith in Google's ability to execute in the enterprise space. Hell, they can't even get a hit consumer product.

  9. Simard57

    “Since we launched Chrome OS in 2009, our goal has been to build the simplest, fastest, and most secure operating system possible,” because Android isn't the simplest, fastest or most secure.

    I always thought a Chrome OS Tablet made sense for enterprise - but try to find one!

    It seems if it is Touch - it is Android

    Keyboard/Mouse - it is Chrome OS.

    I wish I had a sense what the Google Roadmap looks like.

    • Stooks

      In reply to Simard57:

      "I wish I had a sense what the Google Roadmap looks like."

      IMHO this is the biggest issue with Google. Roadmaps and multiple products to do the same thing and which ones will live on and which will be killed off.

      The Andromeda OS was supposed to merge Android and Chrome OS. It was recently killed. I think while it was alive it was the real reason that Android Apps on Chrome hardly went anywhere. I mean why put the effort into Android apps on Chrome OS if there was going to be a new OS to replace them both???

    • Waethorn

      In reply to Simard57:

      Google hasn't been keen to push tablets because market conditions are saying that users want convertibles, not slates. And even then, it's not a mass market - the average market is only buying laptops.

      You'll see a mess, but Google always manages to pull a diamond out of a pile of dirt. Microsoft just keeps digging themselves deeper, such as the removal of ReFS from Windows 10 Pro. Google isn't going to cannibalize Chrome OS sales (which is doing quite well, despite Android support only being on a few models) until they have something cohesive. If you want to read about updates, read Chrome Unboxed or Chrome Story to find out what's new in the Chromium change logs. They always have good info on what's to come.

      • Stooks

        In reply to Waethorn:

        "Google always manages to pull a diamond out of a pile of dirt"

        Youtube is the only Google product/service that I could not replace if I wanted to never use a Google products again and Google bought it. Everything else I use from Google can easily be replaced.

    • Bats

      In reply to Simard57:

      In regards to the Chrome OS Tablet, the rumor is.....It's the form of a new Chromebook Pixel.

  10. dcdevito

    Only the beginning...for Google. And the end for Microsoft empire. The pricing will be too enticing for CIOs, for techs who hate it they will be told to find solutions that bridge gaps in functionality or take a walk.

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