updated 03:24 pm EST, Tue November 26, 2013
Redmond continues anti-Google ad campaign
Microsoft has released a new "Scroogled" ad, enlisting the Pawn Stars reality TV crew to deride a Chromebook as a worthless "brick." The online video begins with a woman entering a pawn shop to sell her Chromebook for cash to buy a "ticket to Hollywood," however shop co-owner Rick Harrison explains how the device is "not a real laptop" because it "doesn't do much at all" when disconnected from a Wi-Fi network.
Although Google's Chrome OS is focused on web-based applications run through the Chrome web browser, many apps are designed to continue working in offline mode. Without an Internet connection, users can write e-mails and search archived messages, view Google Calendar entries, view Microsoft Office and PDF files, or view and edit photos and Google Docs documents, among other capabilities.
The Pawn Stars ad goes a step further than mere criticism of basic capabilities, focusing also on the privacy theme of Microsoft's earlier videos. "When you are online, Google tracks what you do so they can sell ads; that's how you get Scroogled" says Harrison. "Google is always trying to find ways to make more money off your personal information. This Chromebook hardware makes it even easier for them."
Chromebooks are currently available from several different manufacturers including Acer, HP and Samsung. Most are priced between $200 and $300, intended to serve as entry-level computers or secondary devices, though the Chromebook Pixel targeted the high-end market with a 2560x1700 display and a $1300 price tag.
Microsoft's Windows platform has long maintained a dominance in the notebook market, however the company's own foray into the tablet and convertible segments has pushed hardware partners to explore other platforms. Acer president Jim Wang publicly voiced his intention to grow the company's non-Windows business, forecasting that Chromebook sales could represent 10 to 12 percent of revenues in 2013 and up to 30 percent by 2014.