Chromebooks for Business: Will Distributors Assist Google?
Yes, Google Chromebooks are now available for purchase from Amazon.com and BestBuy. But Google is also working on a so-called Chromebooks for Business initiative — which will allow businesses to pay $28 per user per month for hardware, cloud applications and support.
Now here’s the big question: How will Google handle the sales, financing and distribution of Chromebooks for Business? I’ve yet to receive a clear indication from Google. But some clues are emerging. Check the Google Chromebooks for Business web site, and you’ll notice this check-box at the bottom:
“Yes, the info in this form may be shared with a Google solution provider so I can get help evaluating and adopting Google products and services.”
Also when completing the form, Google asks for your job title. One of the drop-down menu options is “Reseller.” Call it an informed hunch but I think Google will need to include channel partners — potentially even major distributors — in the Chromebook for Business campaign. Already, Google has confirmed plans to develop some sort of reseller model in this space.
Major VARs servicing the higher education market could be a prime channel opportunity, I believe. Indeed, scores of colleges already run Google Apps for Education. Those colleges can now pay $20 per user per month for a special Google Chromebooks for Business promotion. Moreover, I think distributors — which have extensive experience in the financing market — could potentially lend a hand with the Chromebook for Business push.
I’ve reached out to Ingram Micro and Tech Data — two major distributors — for comment. But so far neither distributor has offered up any perspectives. And Google has yet to officially say how partners will participate in the Chromebooks for Business push. But we’ll keep asking…