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[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1000.0"] HP Stream 13 running Windows HP Stream 13 running Windows [/caption]

The popularity of Google's Chromebook is scaring Microsoft. The company launched a cloudbook category in order to present consumers with an alternative to Chromebooks. 

However, this latest development seems to be a throwback for Microsoft to stop the bleeding of people who've switched out of Windows. Before Chromebooks, there were netbooks and those were popular for a little while before being eclipsed by ultrabooks (ie Macbook Air) and tablets (ie iPad, Galaxy Tab, etc). The market for netbook 1.0 basically went away when the low-end computing chips inside the machines couldn't attract customers away from either tablets or ultrabooks. 

Chromebook is basically netbook 2.0. Whereas netbooks 1.0 used inexpensive chips to lower the cost, it also had to use modified version of the OS to optimize the machines. The result is that using the machine for a variety of tasks actually made it slower. Netbook 2.0 is different in that it's efficiency actually increases with internet access. While I understand the reason for Microsoft to introduce "cloudbooks" to counter the growing popularity of Google's chromebooks, it may end up hurting Microsoft in the long run. 

Launching a different version of Windows would only confuse users as the user experience between the phone, the tablet, the cloudbook, and the desktop are not consistent. This is something that Apple is trying to rectify by slowly merging the iOS and OSX user experience. Granted, Apple's software has been declining in quality, but it's still pursuing the goal of a unified user experience . Google is doing that by providing consistent user experience on various platform (iOS, Android, and Chrome). This leaves Microsoft as the lone provider without a consistent user experience across various platforms. Perhaps this will be rectified in Windows 10, but if it isn't, then they should expect even more exodus of users abandoning the inconsistent, unintegrated software. 

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