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Google makes a push for the enterprise with Chrome

May 12, 2011: 10:20 AM ET

Google's latest push into the cloud comes with partnerships for two consumer versions of its Chrome laptops. Will customers come along for the ride?

FORTUNE -- Chrome, the web-centric operating system that Google hoped would revolutionize the computer industry, is finally ready for its star turn. This week, Google (GOOG) took the wraps off of its long-awaited Chrome OS netbooks (dubbed "Chromebooks") at its annual developer conference in San Francisco, I/O. It also revealed a hardware and software subscription plan aimed at businesses, schools and government customers.

Here's the deal: Enterprise customers will pay a monthly fee starting at $28 per user for a Chromebook (schools pay $20 per student). The fee includes a cloud management console for remotely administering and managing users, devices and applications, plus what Google calls "enterprise-level support," device warranties and replacements. What's not included? Google Apps for Business. That means that if users want the company's enterprise-level app suite (which includes Gmail, Google Calendar and Docs and other applications), they'll have to pay an additional $50 a year per employee. (If you ask me, it would have made more sense to bundle all of Google's business offerings with the Chromebooks. Then again, nobody asked me.) More

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