Last April, Microsoft announced it was working with vendor partners on a new class of PC, now known as the Windows S machine. Its intent was to offer a low-cost, limited-capability device that could compete with web-centric, lower-cost machines like Chromebooks and even some tablets and/or smartphones that have replaced PCs for many workers’ tasks.

Google has been quite successful with Chromebooks and its cloud offerings, particularly in the education market, selling millions of devices (through their vendor partners, including Samsung, Lenovo, Dell and HP). Microsoft’s fear was that the growth of the Chromebook could well seep into markets traditionally covered by Windows PCs.

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