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Acer C720P Chromebook helps show why Microsoft is attacking Google

If you're trying to figure out why Microsoft has been attacking Google with its Scroogled campaign, look no further than the new Acer C720P Chromebook.

The Acer C720P is a $299 laptop that comes with a touchscreen. It's the first touchscreen Chromebook that costs less than $1,000.

It's also a huge threat to Microsoft's computer business.

Microsoft last year released Windows 8, which is the most radical overhaul to the Windows operating system in nearly two decades. The Redmond, Wash., company tailored the platform for touchscreen desktops, laptops and tablets.

The goal was to retool Windows computers so they would be more like mobile devices.

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Around that same time, rival Google began pushing its way into the world of laptops with its Chromebooks.

After a slow start in 2011, Chromebooks sold well in 2012 after Google retooled the platform and introduced new, lower-priced and higher-tech models.

For about a year, the most popular laptop on Amazon was the $249 Samsung Chromebook, and that momentum has carried over into 2013.

This year, more companies who are partners with Microsoft have also begun to team up with Google to make Chromebooks -- most notably computer giant Hewlett-Packard.

As sales increase for Chromebooks, Google has become a bigger threat to Microsoft. And with the Acer C720P, Chromebooks are also starting to threaten Microsoft's grand touchscreen plan. 

This year, Google released the $1,299 Chromebook Pixel, the first touchscreen Chromebook. It sold poorly, but that computer was a concept model, intended to show manufacturers what they could do with a Chromebook.

The Acer C720P is the first touchscreen Chromebook that could actually make a splash.

The new laptop is cheaper than most touchscreen Windows 8 laptops.

And the Acer C720P also offers the simplicity of Google's ecosystem. With Chromebooks, users don't ever have to worry about updating their software or making sure their programs are secure.

Users can't install some of the more popular programs such as Microsoft Office or Apple iTunes, but they can use Google's free alternatives, like Google Drive or Google Play Music. And just like any Windows 8 laptop, Chromebooks can also be used to log onto Facebook (a top priority for many users).

And the Acer C720P is not likely to be the last, low-cost touchscreen Chromebook to go on sale.

Microsoft this week blasted Chromebooks in a new ad for its Scroogled campaign, saying they are nothing more than bricks if they are not connected to the Internet. But these days, most people are in range of a Wi-Fi connection.

And just like the way Gmail has been threatening Outlook and Chrome threatening Internet Explorer, Chromebooks are now a very real challenger to Windows laptops.

That's perhaps why Microsoft is spending so much money to smear Google.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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