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TheStreet Open House

Acer Review: $250 Chromebook In; Microsoft Windows Out

Stocks in this article: GOOG MSFT AAPL INTC HPQ

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Pundits left and right make fun of Google's (GOOG) Chromebook laptops, claiming they are toys that can't compete with Microsoft (MSFT) and Apple (AAPL). They are "not real computers," we are told -- not worthy, a fad -- sort of like the temporary netbook craze from early 2009.

Half of these deniers have never used a Chromebook for even a full day. They tend to be the same people who dismissed the iPhone in 2007 before even trying one. Perhaps they are also the same people who dismissed Tesla's (TSLA) car in 2012 without having driven one.

The computer snobs who make snarky comments about Chromebooks from the peanut gallery are as addicted to going to the Apple store for chronic Genius Bar troubleshooting as they are to their two daily large $4 lattes. If you can't edit Avatar on your laptop, or you can't play some juvenile computer game on it, it just isn't a real computer and therefore people don't want it.

Well, Acer is betting otherwise.

Acer has seen that a Chromebook has been the number one laptop seller on Amazon for, from what I can tell, 52 weeks in a row. It's gone from zero a short while ago to being in 22% of U.S. school districts now -- over 5,000 schools.

Google is taking the Vladimir Lenin strategy of attacking the incumbents: "Give me four years to teach the children, and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted," he said. The kids will graduate from schools hooked on Google's cloud services -- from Gmail to Google Docs. By that time, it will be too late for Microsoft and Apple.

With almost 500 million Gmail users and 80% world-wide smartphone market share, Google has already overwhelmed Microsoft and Apple in key services in short order. The remaining shoe to drop on the battlefield is the traditional PC.

Not wanting to get caught on the wrong side of the eventual ecosystem peace treaty, Acer is now moving aggressively to be part of the next generation of the PC. I'm typing this review on Acer's new $250 Google-based laptop, aka Chromebook.

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