Windows 10 Cloud May Be Microsoft's Chrome OS Killer

Mark Spoonauer LAPTOP Editor in Chief

Chrome OS is now the second most popular OS (sorry, macOS); nearly half of students own Chromebooks; and, according to Google, Chromebooks saw 20 percent year over year growth in retail in 2016 while the rest of the PC industry was down.

But Microsoft could have an answer coming soon in the form of Windows 10 Cloud.

HP Stream 13

According to a report from ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, Windows watchers discovered the name of this supposedly new software within recent test builds of Windows 10.

According to the report, Windows 10 Cloud is designed to be a simplified version of Windows 10 that will run only Universal Windows apps from the Windows Store.

MORE: Chromebooks vs. Windows 10 Laptops: What Should You Buy?

Those who remember the ill-fated Windows RT might be rolling their eyes at this point, but Microsoft needs an answer to Chromebooks, even if it doesn't literally run off the cloud. Foley says the branding simply refers to a "simpler, safter, cheaper version of Windows 10."

Now that Windows is finally coming to ARM processors via a partnership with Qualcomm, which should result in cheaper laptops, the timing could be right for a Windows 10 Cloud.

Ironically, Chromebooks are starting to get more sophisticated and pricey as Microsoft looks to potentially aim lower. The Samsung Chromebook Plus and Pro are 2-in-1s complete with pen input that will start around $450. Let the battle begin.