Google's low-cost Chromebooks outsold Apple's range of Macs for the first time in the US recently. While IDC doesn't typically break out Windows vs. Chromebook sales, IDC analyst Linn Huang confirmed the milestone to The Verge. "Chrome OS overtook Mac OS in the US in terms of shipments for the first time in 1Q16," says Huang. "Chromebooks are still largely a US K-12 story."
IDC estimates Apple's US Mac shipments to be around 1.76 million in the latest quarter, meaning Dell, HP, and Lenovo sold nearly 2 million Chromebooks in Q1 combined. Chromebooks have been extremely popular in US schools, and it's clear from IDC's comments the demand is driving US shipments. Outside of the US, it's still unclear exactly how well Google's low-cost laptops are doing. Most data from market research firms like IDC and Gartner focuses solely on Google's wins in the US.
Google's milestone will undoubtedly unnerve Microsoft, at a time when PC shipments are in an overall decline. IDC predicts a "modest rebound" in the coming months, thanks to some IT buyers considering Windows 10 transitions and an uptick in Chromebook sales in the US. Chromebooks are well positioned to challenge Microsoft's dominance of the low-cost laptop market, and Google is expected to officially unveil its plans to bring Android apps to Chrome OS to make the laptops even more attractive to consumers.