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Google slaps a suit on beefed up Chrome OS, offers Enterprise version for business

Getting a bit crowded in here, isn't it, Microsoft?

Google is making a push for its Chrome OS in the business space with a new Enterprise edition of the cloud-centric operating system.

The paid service will allow companies to manage multiple devices running Chrome, and includes support for Microsoft Active Directory and VMware Workspace One, as well as managed or custom storefronts in the Play service.

The Chrome Enterprise build also includes support for printer management, a special "kiosk mode" for devices, and phone support from Google. Licenses cost $50 per device annually.

The idea behind the enterprise build, says Google, is to allow companies to control Chromebooks with the same management tools they use for Windows PCs.

"We know IT admins face the challenge of managing a broad range of devices in today's business landscape. And it's critical to have the power to manage all devices using a single unified endpoint management solution," wrote David Karam, product manager for Chrome Enterprise.

"Which is why Chrome Enterprise now gives customers the ability to manage all their Chrome devices from a single management solution."

Google is also taking extra steps to make sure that the Enterprise edition of ChromeOS – normally reliant on an internet connection to work – can also function offline and within the private office network. This, Google says, is where the Active Directory integration comes in.

"This integration allows employees to use their native credentials to authenticate across devices and Google Cloud Services like Google Play, while centralizing management of user and device policies for IT admins," explained Karam.

A dedicated enterprise edition should help increase Chrome OS's appeal in the highly lucrative business IT space. With a more expensive premium Chromebook model rumored to be planned for release next month, Google could target enterprise users weary of Microsoft's latest moves with Windows 10.

A push into the business space would also potentially help Google sell its G Suite and Cloud services. The Chocolate Factory has made the ubiquity of its web apps a key selling point for the Cloud service, and adding an enterprise PC operating system will only strengthen Google's case that companies should build their IT infrastructure around its offerings. ®

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