The "Microsoft's dead" theme is so old and yet the company is so profitable that it is easy to think the company has some way of walking off a cliff without falling.
However, if these Chromebooks are less than half the price of their PC and Mac competitors and offer comparable performance, it could be that the "free" OS model is finally going to disrupt the corporate market.
If this happens, like the cartoon character, things could change very rapidly and Satya Nadella will have inherited a poisoned chalice.
Overall, the trend in how people get things done is moving away from PCs and towards tablets and phones. But the Chrome OS has the potential to capture a significant portion of the laptop market even as the total size of the pie shrinks—after all, most of us still prefer a keyboard and a trackpad for getting “real” work done. In other words, if a $400 13-inch Samsung Chromebook is, for most everyday users, just as functional as an $1,100 13-inch Macbook Air—but the Chromebook has a better display—Google and Samsung could have a hit on their hands.