VMware Inc. said it will join with Google Inc. to help the search giant's Chromebook computers run applications designed for Microsoft Corp.'s rival Windows operating system.
The agreement, which builds on VMware's October acquisition of Desktone Inc., is intended to boost Google's efforts to persuade corporate customers to choose its low-priced Chromebooks rather than Windows machines, VMware said in a statement. The software will let companies access Windows programs, data and desktops on Chromebooks at a lower cost.
"Google Chromebooks can save businesses about $5,000 per computer when compared to traditional PCs," Amit Singh, president of Google Enterprise, said in the statement. The figure is based on an IDC study and includes support and maintenance costs for the devices in addition to the hardware.
Both VMware and Google compete with Microsoft and have an incentive to try to reduce corporate dependency on Windows computers. Chromebooks have done better than initially expected in some markets, such as education and small business, and Google is now trying to build up its corporate accounts, rolling out a Chromebox computer earlier this month that's designed to help businesses hold online meetings.
The service is now available to customers over the Internet or as a product they must store on their own server computers, Palo Alto, California-based VMware said.
It's designed "so that customers can get a bridge from the old world to the new world," Sanjay Poonen, vice president and general manager of VMware's end-user computing group, said in an interview.