Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and CIT Group, a business and technology financing company, have inked a partnership that may shake up the hardware as a service (HaaS) market. The deal allows customers to rent Google Chromebooks (cloud-based notebooks) for $30 per month with no long-term commitment. Here's the background and potential implications for managed services providers (MSPs).
According to CIT, the Chromebook rental program includes:
- Chrome hardware with 3-year limited warranty, management console & support;
- the ability to centrally control users, devices and apps via the web-based management console;
- 36-month rental with a decrease in monthly payments every year;
- No long-term commitment - cancel any time during the rental term without penalty.
HaaS Specialists of NoteSome MSPs have already mastered HaaS, allowing customers to pay a monthly fee for their ongoing hardware use and related product refreshes every few years.
- masterIT, a top MSP, has navigated HaaS successfully for several years.
- CharTec, a HaaS and BDR specialist, has offered financing guidance and related training to MSPs for several years.
- Great America Leasing, a well-known financing company, often assists MSPs with business dealings -- some of which involve HaaS.
Mixed HistoryStill, the HaaS market has also stumbled from time to time. N-able Technologies filed suit against MSP on Demand, a HaaS specialist, back in 2010. The case alleged MSP on Demand was engaged in fraudulent business practices. I don't know if the legal case ever reached a resolution.
Also of note: Google Chromebooks, introduced in mid-2011, haven't exactly set the world on fire. But some channel partners are definitely profiting from the devices. One example involves Cloud Sherpas, a top 100 cloud services provider that sells and support Chromebooks.