Chromebook Disruption Revisited

Although some people consider Chromebooks to be a low-end disruption to traditional laptop PCs, I have been skeptical of this for quite a while (“Why the Chromebook is not a Low-End Disruption”). In January 2013, I even outlined why Chromebooks will ultimately follow the fate of Netbooks.

The flattening of iPad sales (1, 2, 3) strengthens my conviction.

Simply said, low-end disruption is much harder than many people believe. iPads have failed to replace laptop PCs in the low-end disruption fashion; Apple is now focussing on new-market disruption as is clearly demonstrated in the new “Your Verse” marketing theme.

Even with low-end disruption, there has to be a significant new-market disruption element. Low-end disruption is more than a few hundred dollars saved or a small bit of convenience. There has to be a clear and hugely significant improvement that broadens the use-cases, thereby allowing computing to happen in situations where it was not previously feasible. The “Your Verse” campaign is trying to tell us that the iPad does exactly this.

It follows that if iPads failed to disrupt laptop PCs, the chances of Chromebooks doing the same is close to zero.