Surprise, surprise, everyone. Chromebook, the light and minimalist laptops powered by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s browser-based Chrome operating system is proving to be tough competition for Windows-based devices. It seems that this year Chromebook has reached new heights, and has gained a good amount of market share.

chromebook

Chromebook’s overall market share increased this year among commercial buyers like schools, governments, businesses, etc to 21 percent through November this year for all notebooks sales, and 8 percent for all computers and tablets sales, according to a market research firm NPD Group. Chromebook has reached these heights from almost nothing last year – one tenth of a percent in 2012.

Chromebooks accounted for 21 percent of all notebook sales, up from negligible share in the prior year, and 8 percent of all computer and tablet sales through November, up from one tenth of a percent in 2012 – the largest share increase across the various product segments.

Chromebook popularity reflected on Amazon

Next up, coming to Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). According to Amazon.com’s best-selling page of laptop computers, three Chromebooks are sitting at the top from four best-selling laptops. First on the spot is Acer’s C720, next is Samsung’s Chromebook, third is the Asus Transformer book and fourth is HP’s Chromebook. It can be said that the Chromebooks scored really well during the U.S. holiday season. At the time of writing this, the ranking is still in place.

best-seller-laptop

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is doing with Chromebooks what it did with Android. The search engine company licensed its operating system for free to manufacturers. This in turn will increase the usage of web-based devices, just like Android, and now Chromebooks.

Microsoft’s business is based on Windows OS, and the company can’t offer the OS for free. Microsoft also doesn’t have any browser based operating system that can run applications right from the web browser, unlike Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).

At this time, Chromebooks does have their own advantage. They’re priced cheap (compared to Wintel machines), they’re light, they come with SSD hard disks, and the user doesn’t needs to worry about updating the OS or virus issues. The leading Chromebook that’s selling right now on Amazon is Acer’s C720 which is priced at $199, and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) ‘s Chromebook which is priced at $194.

In a sense, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has started to dig into Microsoft’s market share. Now, what’s the future of Chromebooks in 2014? That remains to be seen.