Recently, Google has focused on aggressive pricing and marketing to push its dead-simple Chrome OS laptops, and it appears that it is working. Acer President Jim Wong has told Bloomberg in an interview that five to ten percent of the company's US shipments since the Acer C7 was released on November 13th were accounted for by the $199 Chromebook. In the third quarter of 2012, Acer was the fifth largest manufacturer in terms of PC shipments, with 1,006,000 units shipped, according to IDC. Shipment estimates for Acer in Q4 aren't available as IDC only reports on the top five manufacturers, and the company was beat out by Toshiba in the quarter. However, the numbers suggest the company could have shipped close to 50,000 C7 Chromebooks to-date, and Wong said that considering "all the marketing and promotions were not as broad as Windows 8... to reach this success is encouraging."
"To reach this success is encouraging."
Laptops powered by Chrome OS have been niche products ever since the introduction of the first consumer models back in 2011. Acer brought the web-only laptops to a new price point when it began selling the C7 for just $199 last year. As we pointed out earlier this month, Chromebooks appear to be picking up a bit of steam, especially with Lenovo and now HP hopping on board, and Acer's Chromebook shipments are certainly a positive sign. Wong said that the majority of buyers have been educational institutions and corporations that have been drawn to the units by their low cost and security features. Microsoft can't yet compete with Chromebooks on price since both Windows 8 and Windows RT carry high licensing costs, and Wong wasn't uncertain in calling out Microsoft's slow start. "Windows 8 itself is still not successful," said Wong, "the whole market didn’t come back to growth after the Windows 8 launch, that’s a simple way to judge if it is successful or not."