For a company that is all about world domination via the hardware-agnostic cloud, Google sure seems fascinated with being in the computer game these days.
There are those Chromebook laptops, a partnership with Samsung and Acer that is primarily a means to extend the reach of Google’s cloud-based services courtesy of a delivery system of inexpensive computers that don’t do much of anything else. But that’s a play against Microsoft and its office software suite, not the world’s top computer makers.
And it makes core sense: Google still makes nearly 100 percent of its roughly $30 billion annual revenue from small text ads on web pages, and, to a much lesser extent, its cloud-based services. Anything that drives traffic to those pages is money in Google’s bank.
So of course selling and leasing cheap hardware tethered to those services and to the internet in general makes perfect strategic sense, even though a) we are entering the post PC era and b) for the most part, computers are a commodity item.
Then there was Google’s first foray into mobile phones: the most important accessory most of us carry. This is where Apple reigns supreme: I can’t tell you how many people I know who own iPhones and iPads, but tap only a small fraction of their functionality and could just as well use cheaper phones and data plans.