Google has taken aim at Microsoft’s corporate market share with a new programme to help businesses make the switch to Chrome.

Back when it was launched in 2010, Chrome was little more than a slimmed down browser – offering a way to access the web without as much the bloat as other platforms. It was a resounding success, and Chrome now takes almost ten times the market share of its nearest rivals.

This success brought about the creation of Chrome OS, though this hasn’t had such impressive results in the business world, as many companies balk at the cost and time investment in switching from their legacy Windows systems.

However, all this could soon be set to change with the release of Chrome OS Flex – a programme designed to make the switch from a Windows or Mac system incredibly straightforward.

This development may be seismic, but it could also come as no surprise, given Google’s purchase of CloudReady in December 2020.

CloudReady was an independent, third-party software created using Google’s open source code to re-skin Windows or Mac devices and make them run as Chromebooks.

Having purchased Neverware – the company behind CloudReady – for an undisclosed sum, Google is now rolling out its functionality, with Chrome OS Flex available to download, totally free.

Google’s director of enterprise and education products Thomas Riedl told business owners that Flex provided an opportunity “to refresh your PCs and Macs with our fast and secure operating system.

“At the same time, you also get an opportunity to try new hardware that fits your needs. There are so many great benefits to effectively leverage a huge Windows fleet and bring it into the Chrome OS family without having to go through new hardware purchases first.”

Despite these apparent benefits there are some potential drawbacks. Converted systems wouldn’t have the same end-to-end security as native Chromebooks, nor would they be able to access the Google Play Store.

However, these may very soon be resolved by Google in upcoming patches. And even if not, the system provides a working alternative to Windows that could create the first step to corporate users taking the plunge and finally moving away from Microsoft.