Just ahead of the holiday shopping season, Microsoft ramped up its FUD machine and launched the next phase of its infamous anti-Google Scroogled campaign last week. This time, the company is targeting Chromebooks, Google's cheap ChromeOS-based, web-centric laptops. Why is Microsoft worried about Chromebooks? Because it can see the writing on the wall.

For many mainstream users, the operating system they use is slowly becoming irrelevant, and even though Chromebooks are right for everyone, they are slowly becoming a real alternative in the low-end laptop market.

Most Chromebook distractors will argue that there's no need to even try to poke fun at these devices. Who, after all, wants a laptop that can't do anything else but surf the web? Who would even buy one of these things? It's the platypus of the notebook world, after all. But while most people think of Chromebooks as laptops that can't do anything else but surf the web and isn't a “real laptop” (an idea Microsoft plays up in its Scroogled campaign), that perception is quickly becoming outdated and that's why Microsoft has decided to go for the FUD.

Microsoft wants you to believe that you can't do anything with a Chromebook when you're offline. That's just plain wrong at this point. Sure, Chromebooks make more sense in an always-on environment (which is where most people use them), but nobody is stopping you from playing Angry Birds while you're offline. Indeed, while Microsoft specifically calls out Angry Birds as the kind of thing you can't do on a Chromebook, Google would be more than happy if you downloaded it from its Chrome Web Store and played it offline.

More and more ChromeOS apps now work this way, which is great, but if you think about it, how much of what you do on a laptop these days actually happens offline? Unless you really need Photoshop or high-end CAD software or a similarly demanding program, the software you're probably using most on your laptop is your browser.
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--jeremy