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Just when Microsoft thought that they only really had to worry about Macbooks, along came an army of Chromebooks. These cheap little laptops gobbled up significant market share, particularly at the lower end of the spectrum, because they were so much cheaper and reasonably useful compared to even the cheapest (and chunkiest) Windows laptops. Microsoft is ready to fight back with Windows 10 Cloud.

Before we conjure up all of those unpleasant memories of Windows RT, we should also recognize that Microsoft has been doing a lot of things right lately. They’ve been winning us back with the open beta program for Windows 10, eventually giving it out for free to anyone who wanted to upgrade.

Like Windows RT (and hopefully not at all like Windows RT), Windows 10 Cloud will be a lighter weight version of the full OS positioned against Chromebooks. Its resource requirements will be lower, making it a good choice for the educational market where Chromebooks are currently doing very well. This aligns with an upcoming education-focused event scheduled for May 2.

The sneaky buggers at Windows Central managed to snag an internal document from Microsoft that outlines exactly how Windows 10 Cloud (pegged as Windows RS2 Target in this chart) will compete against an equivalent Chromebook.

Look Out Chromebook! Here Comes Windows 10 Cloud

The modest spec sheet is roughly equivalent to what you’d find on a modest Chromebook, offering a similar level of performance and battery life. The goal is to provide an “all-day” laptop for students on the go. The tradeoff is that you’ll likely only be able to run “Universal Windows Platform” apps from the Microsoft Store on these machines with no support for “full” Windows 10 programs.

Given the Cloud nomenclature, the expectation is that many users will be turning to browser-based and cloud-based solutions for much of what they want to do. There’s Office Online as an alternative to the desktop-based Office 365, for instance… though you could obviously use Google Docs on these laptops too.


Going even further, Microsoft may be readying laptops that use Qualcomm ARM processors instead of Intel and AMD chips too, further improving battery life and reducing cost. These may or may not be a separate project from the Windows 10 Cloud initiative, but you can see how the objectives of the two ideas certainly align.

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