Google is gaining rapid traction in the US education marketplace at the expense of both Apple and Microsoft, according to the latest Futuresource Consulting EdTech K-12 Market Report
Figures for the third quarter (Q3) of 2015 confirm that Chromebooks reached over 50 per cent of K-12 sales for the first time amounting to 1.63 million units. Futuresource says the sales surge ‘has coincided with the need for Districts to implement online assessment (and the stipulation that all devices needed keyboards)’. It also cites Chromebooks’ simple-to-use ecosystem, attractive hardware price point (below $300) and industry leading management platform.
Elsewhere, however, Chrome is growing at a much slower rate with just a three per cent share of Q3 2015 sales in the Rest of the World. The report says this is because few other countries have embraced online assessment and emerging markets do not have the connectivity to run a cloud-based infrastructure.
The Futuresource report adds that there are already signs of a Microsoft fightback through its partnership with Lightspeed Systems to tackle the manageability challenge posed by multi-user K-12 environments: ‘One of the greatest reasons cited for the rapid rise of Chromebooks is the simplicity for IT administrators to manage and deploy devices at scale. Users have often complained about the Windows ecosystem being too complicated. The partnership with Lightspeed is aimed to counter this and feedback to date is that the partnership is being well received by users.’
Microsoft is also expected to respond with a new range of Windows notebook devices in 2016 priced below $300 and with cheaper 2-in-1 devices, such as tablets/notebooks with detachable keyboards.