Windows XP is dead, and it is never coming back, ever. This is a problem for several small- and medium- size business that are still running the old Microsoft operating system, and Google is hoping to take advantage of this situation by offering Chromebooks to these businesses.

"Today marks the end of an era for computing, as Windows XP meets its maker," says Google. "I remember when XP was released in 2001 -- it seemed like a revolution that introduced computers to a whole new generation. But fast-forward 13 years and we live in a very different world -- one in which we expect the latest and greatest software, and the ability to access our stuff from anywhere. Even Microsoft admits: it's time for a change."

Google's plan to shift businesses away from Microsoft is to offer Chromebooks at a discount of up to $100 on selected devices. This deal will run until the end of June, which gives Google ample time to gain quite a few businesses under its wings. It's not going to be an easy task since Chrome OS does not play well with several business-related software programs on Windows XP. The only reputable way to make this happen, is to run Windows XP apps through a virtual machine, such as VMware or Citrix. In addition, Chrome OS requires an always-online connection to function properly, though some functions can be used offline, such as Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets.

"It's time for a real change, rather than more of the same. Chromebooks for Business offers you a secure and easy-to-use computing experience, along with a central web-based management console and lower total cost of ownership," according to Google. "If you've been considering Chromebooks for your company, until June 30, we're sweetening the deal:"

  • Buy Chromebooks for Business and get $100 off for each managed device you purchase for your company.
  • If your employees need to access desktop apps, we've partnered with Citrix and VMware to bring two offers:
  1. Get $200 off Chromebooks for Business with VMware Desktop as a Service (DaaS).
  2. Get Chromebooks for Business and 25% off Citrix XenApp Platinum Edition, which includes AppDNA software for accelerating Windows XP migration.

Businesses moving over to Chrome OS should find it to be a simple affair, granted if they are willing to use different applications. Chrome OS is quite similar to the Chrome web browser, so employees should feel quite at home. Furthermore, Chrome OS runs really well on inexpensive hardware. One cannot say the same about Windows 7 or Windows 8 in their current form.

The end of Windows XP should not come as a surprise to business users, as Microsoft had announced that the operating system would meet its end on April 8. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft responds to Google, as businesses might buy what the search giant is selling.

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