For the second holiday shopping season in a row, Chromebooks were the top-selling computers on Amazon, Amazon reported Friday.
That’s bad news for Microsoft and its hardware partners, which have shifted their Windows 8 computer strategy this year by offering cheaper models. For example, the HP Stream laptop, which got pretty good reviews, only costs $US200 and comes with a lot of free software like Microsoft Office.
Amazon reported that the top-selling computers were the Acer C720 Chromebook ($US228), ASUS 13-inch Chromebook ($US220), and the HP 11-2010nr Chromebook ($US198).
Chromebooks are computers that run Chrome OS, which is essentially just the Chrome web browser with a few extras. They’re typically very cheap, around $US200 or $US300, and only good for basic computing like browsing the web, watching YouTube videos, and emailing.
Last year, Chromebooks made up two of the top three selling laptops on Amazon during the holiday shopping season.
Of course, there some caveats. Amazon didn’t give the specific number of laptops sold. Plus, Windows devices still make up the bulk of the PC market. Chromebooks are only a tiny sliver of the market.
Finally, Microsoft is getting ready to release a new version of Windows called Windows 10, which is supposed to fix a lot of the gripes people have with Windows 8. Now that Microsoft has stopped support for Windows XP, Windows 10 has the potential to kick off a massive upgrade cycle and reinvigorate the PC market a bit. Microsoft is holding an event on January 21 to unveil even more features in Windows 10.
At the same time, Amazon’s stats point to a real trend in personal computing these days. We use phones and tablets for a large portion of our activities. There’s little need for a lot of people to spend $US1,000 on a computer when all they want to do is surf the web and check Facebook. A $US200 Chromebook is good enough.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.