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Google raises heat on Microsoft with new Chrome bundle for enterprises

Gregg Keizer | May 25, 2017
Bundles browser, group policy templates and legacy browser switching tool.

Instead, millions decided to switch browsers.

But Schare said IE is still king of the enterprise browsers. "IE is still the primary browser," he asserted, even though Microsoft has reduced it to legacy status. "It's still an IE world in the enterprise, although there have been dramatic increases in Chrome."

The reason? Schare cited the huge number of web apps and intranet websites designed for old, now-defunct versions of IE. Because IE11 is -- more or less -- backwards compatible, and rivals like Chrome or Mozilla's Firefox are decidedly not, companies stick with Microsoft's browser rather than spend money to rewrite the apps and sites.

But Gartner Research disagreed with Schare's contention that IE remains top dog. "Chrome is the de facto standard in the enterprise," said Michael Silver, a Gartner analyst, in a Tuesday interview. "Yes, IE is still in use, but because it has to be."

Two years ago, Gartner forecast that Chrome would surpass IE in enterprise usage by the end of 2015. That, in fact, came to pass.

Like Schare, whose company's business model is predicated on multiple browsers within enterprises, Silver and Gartner have long recommended a two-browser strategy: One to handle legacy apps and sites, the other for everything else. Doing so lets employees access the old but does not punish them by making them access the web with a creaky, sub-standard browser. In that model, whether Schare's or Silver's, IE clearly plays the legacy role.

"[Enterprises] need both the legacy browser and a modern one," Silver said.

It was only in 2015 that Microsoft offered its own "modern" browser, Edge, and pitched dual workplace browsers. But because Edge runs only on Windows 10, and because Windows 10 has yet to make a meaningful appearance on corporate PCs, the pair are unavailable to most customers. Thus, Chrome's climb.

"We really don't see Edge yet [used by our customers], because we really don't see Windows 10 yet," Schare said.

Silver echoed that. "We don't find enterprises defaulting to Edge," he said of those that have moved to Windows 10. "They're more likely to let users pick whatever they want to use" for the "modern" half of the browser duo.

Google's Chrome enterprise bundle can be downloaded from the company's website. Chrome and the group policy templates can also be downloaded separately from the same site.


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