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Microsoft Losing Big To Apple On Campus 764

destinyland writes "Apple is closing in on Microsoft's share of operating systems among the computers of incoming freshmen at the University of Virginia, confirming earlier reports of an ongoing trend. A yearly survey shows that among 3,156 freshman who own computers, Microsoft's share is just 56% (down 6%), with Apple's share rising to 43% (up 6%), continuing a six-year pattern. In 2004, it was Microsoft 89% vs. 8% for Apple. 'It seems likely that the Mac-using students will outnumber their Windows cousins this school year,' notes one technology blog, citing a new study showing that 70 percent of college freshman are choosing the Mac. Other interesting data from the Virginia study: In 1997, 26% of incoming freshmen said they didn't own a computer, a number which has now dropped to 0. Laptops now comprise 99% of the computer population. And Linux use has dropped from a high of 2.5% in 2004 to a rounding error this year."
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Microsoft Losing Big To Apple On Campus

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  • Wait... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bennomatic ( 691188 ) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @05:02PM (#33175688) Homepage
    ...don't they know that Steve Jobs wants to control their lives?

    Joking aside, I wonder how much that market share number changes when you look at the mobile market. I'd bet 95% of incoming students have cell phones of one type or another. I'd also bet that Windows-based mobile phones are probably near zero percent, with iPhone and Android sharing the lion's share of the market, but it'd be interesting to see what those numbers are for college students as compared to the outside world.
  • by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <<giles.jones> <at> <zen.co.uk>> on Saturday August 07, 2010 @05:11PM (#33175756)

    Oh and Windows skills are in shortage?

    I'd sooner be proficient in a Unix based OS and know some really sought after skills than simply know only Windows.

    Owning a Mac or using a Linux machine means you get exposure to Windows and OSX/Linux since Windows boxes are unavoidable.

  • by Manip ( 656104 ) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @05:17PM (#33175796)
    Interesting result. Certainly isn't the case at my local University. I do wonder about the demographic of the surveyed college? For example are they fairly wealthy? I cannot imagine students around here even being able to buy a Mac Book, you see many more cheap Dells, HPs, and Acers. You also see a lot of people who don't own laptops at all and certainly don't bring them to classes. Also very odd how few of the students owned a desktop... With it claiming that tons own two or more laptops but only a small selection owning a laptop AND desktop. Again, locally many students here have a desktop in their room and no laptop at all (which is largely down to how cheap desktops are). As I said, I am deeply curious how rich these kids are.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 07, 2010 @05:19PM (#33175820)

    ... considering Apple does not even offer Macbooks with core i3's. You must get core i5 or i7 and pay out the wazoo (to the tune of $1700+) for it or else you're stuck with core 2 duo's, as far as I know. Then again, UVa is not a tech school and so I don't expect many of their incoming class to know or care. Meanwhile, my $500 dollar laptop from a local store 4 years ago still runs AutoCAD 2010 just fine with a $40 RAM upgrade.

    Not everyone's primary concern is finding a cheap computer. Apple has always shied away from bottom feeding and releasing cheap computers. The real telling one would be to find out how much of the Microsoft percentage went with them over price. If 3/4 of the Microsoft camp went that way over price then the numbers may be heavily slanted for Mac already.

  • by brxndxn ( 461473 ) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @05:20PM (#33175826)

    You can run Windows on a Mac when you need.. But if you buy a Mac for the better hardware specs, you might as well play with the Mac OS - which you'll find runs smoother on Mac laptops than any Windows-based laptop I have seen. Just try the touchpad on the newest Mac laptop and you'll see it is far superior to any touchpad on any Windows laptop available now.

    Seriously.. the laptops available for Windows fucking suck. They're shit. They're all shit since IBM sold Thinkpad to Lenovo. Dell makes shit. HP makes shit. The consumer 'Best Buy' laptops are shiny shit. The 'enterprise' class laptops are flimsy shit. Nothing available holds a candle to any of the Mac laptops in terms of hardware. They're all too thick or flimsy or get too hot. The only thing Mac is missing that would allow it to take over the enterprise is a docking station (probably because that's against Steve Job's whackjob religion.)

    Show me a Windows laptop with hardware that can hold a candle to Mac's current lineup, and I'll buy one. I'm currently using a Dell M4400 and I think it's a flimsy piece of crap that has a formfactor as usable as a potato chip and somehow it gets good reviews. I don't own any Macs - but other developers I work with use them.

    Oh ya.. and Windows 7 is a crappy OS that just happens to be less crappy than Vista.

    It's really sad.. I went from being the biggest nerd in the world that had to have every latest and greatest gadget to being the most jaded. Every new electronic device from cell phones to laptops is missing features I used to have with an old device. At least Mac is making an attempt to introduce higher quality with newer devices. Every other company is racing to offer the cheapest piece of Chinese shit they can find.

    If I haven't affended you a little, it's because I spent so little effort in my rant. Am I the only one that is completely annoyed by the lack of technological progression in consumer electronic devices - both hardware, software, and everything else that has to do with them?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 07, 2010 @05:23PM (#33175858)

    Recently the private school my daughter goes to went 100% Macbooks and servers. Support and forced upgrade costs pushed the IT department to draw a line in the sand and decreed absolutely no MS allowed (except for Office).

    Of course it's a double-edged sword. There's higher upfront costs but the TCO is greatly lowered through IT not having to deal with the all the problems related to using Microsoft software. And switching from one monopoly with crappy products to another potential monopoly with ok products is to be debated.

    But personally I'm willing to pony up the extra money for the Macbook instead of a cheaper Dell. Mainly because the higher costs of using Microsoft products has greatly increased operating costs for the school over the last 8 years. Which is passed on as tuition increases so this is a long-term solution. Dumping MS in this case is essentially an investment.

  • by vcgodinich ( 1172985 ) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @05:33PM (#33175910)
    I agree to a point.

    Why is it so hard for a windows laptop maker to make a laptop that looks and feels decent, with decent battery life? Every laptop in Best Buy is full of cheap stickers and made of crappy plastic.

    I know the oversized trackpad is patented by Apple, and that sucks, but how hard is it to get the other things correct?

    I do disagree about the operating systems though. I find Win7 to be way ahead of OSX in terms of usability. There are problems, and i have bitches, but I tried OSX for a week, and had a TON more complaints. For example, opening a picture in a folder to look at it, then there is no way to view the next picture in the folder. There are no "next/previous" buttons, the arrow keys don't work, i couldn't figure out how to do it, save closing the window and opening the next picture manually. I have asked a couple of people that i know use macs about this, and they have either said they open (load) them all at the start, or they say they just close / open each picture individually. Now, there might be a way to do this, but it sure isn't intuitive, and (anecdotally) not a lot of mac users know it. This by itself blows away all the "small" gripes i have about windows7. (no default support for multi monitor taskbars, to name one)

  • by Foofoobar ( 318279 ) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @05:40PM (#33175966)
    Thats the most likely answer. That schools require software that can only run on Windows or Mac. It's as common as requiring a textbook but they do not realize the politics of their decision in not allowing an equally suitable software substitute on alternative OS's.
  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @06:01PM (#33176096) Homepage Journal

    Kids don't care if they drive their parents into bankruptcy.

    An actually comparable laptop isn't priced that differently. You're exaggerating, or leaving out many choices, in order to forge a false point. A macbook is $999. Sure, you can spend more, but getting a mac laptop... $999 and you're there. And when you have spent your $999, you have several things that you don't have with your windows machine:

    • OS X and the applications that run on it
    • You basically have *nix; as if you had linux
    • a consistent, fully supported hardware configuration

    Also, you don't lose the ability to run windows: Parallels will put it in a window on the desktop, and bootcamp will turn the whole machine into a windows one.

    (Oh and don't give me crap about Macs being better - the $1500 model actually had 1 GB less memory and 500 megahertz slower speed than the $450 Toshiba laptop.)

    It's not that simple. It is well established that when you lay out feature for feature, and compare OS efficiencies performance wise, actual system speeds (bus, IO, etc., not just CPU clock) there is a decent correspondence at similar price levels.

    And there is a very important thing that Windows users love to deny, but I witness each and every day: The typical Windows machine is constantly in need of attention for malware, driver problems, and so forth. Macs... aren't. You can debate the reasons until the sun goes down, but it doesn't change the fact that a Mac requires a lot less maintainance from its owner.

    Lastly, there's a small (in terms of variety, huge otherwise), but highly popular pool of nominally machine-agnostic hardware that brings the brand (Apple) first to mind when it comes to ease of use, high utility, and yeah, "coolness": The iPod and iPad products. They often introduce people to Apple, and again, at the end of the day when the dust settles, these are superb products and they naturally predispose people - students, anyone - to think positively of Apple.

    I'm not surprised your student considered your advice bad. I would too. And I'm quite well versed in all three operating systems; I develop for all three and have all three on my desktop. When people ask me for a recommendation, I suggest Apple, usually with the note that they are much easier to maintain and use, as well as highly reliable, so consequently they save effort and frustration as time passes. If it costs more, the question is, are those benefits worth it? I think they are. But then again, I consider my time valuable and that strongly colors my choices.

  • by vcgodinich ( 1172985 ) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @06:22PM (#33176248)
    If you are recommending OpenOffice instead of MSOffice I question your judgement.

    I want OpenOffice to be good, i really do. I download each release hoping that this time it will be better, but it never is. It is always slower, more prone to crash, feature lacking, and incompatible with the things that I am doing. I always end up using it for a week or two, then running into some bug or problem, them spending half a day trying to fix it. At some point i realize that the faster MS Office will do what I want without bugs and the time lost to Open Office could have paid for a new copy of MS Office.

    I wish they would stop trying, and failing to copy MS Office and instead focus on being really good and fast at a basic set of features, rather that being mediocre at a lot.

  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @06:36PM (#33176324) Homepage Journal

    They are also highly not interoperable. (Every single aspect of it: the App Store, the chargers, iTunes only running on OSX and Windows, DRMs, not supporting open formats, ...)

    That's right; iPods and iPads (and, I think, iPhones) work only with Windows and OSX. About 99% of the marketplace, in other words. That's just terrible, isn't it? It's almost as if they thought that someone who chose linux, that fortified bastion of the GPL, wasn't supportive of commercial, closed-source products, and so would have nothing to do with them!

    A friend of mine bought an iPod because it looked cool, and after fighting to transfer song under Linux, sworn to never buy Apple again...

    Um. Well, I run linux, OS X, and Windows. I bought my iPod so I could use the apps, and listen to music. Not so hot on videos. Anyway, when I bought it, I saw the "Windows and Mac" notice on the box, and for some reason didn't mentally translate that into "Mac, Windows and Linux" -- I guess I'm just an old fuddy-duddy that way. Anyway, what happened was, I wasn't disappointed by trying to make a product work under linux when I hadn't been told it would work that way.

    Why you think corporations, long disadvantaged by the OSS/GPL mindset, would support linux... is really beyond me. Now, I like linux (that's why it's on my desk -- I write PD (not GPL) apps for it like this one [fyngyrz.com]) but speaking as a person who also sells commercial products, I have to tell you, linux is not an attractive platform for those same products.

  • by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @06:42PM (#33176372)
    You also have to remember that this survey was conducted on ONE university, on top of that, there's no information about how this study was done.

    At my college (an engineering college) you'll find it nearly impossible to find anyone that uses a mac. 90% or more of the students here have windows based machines, only an odd handful of people have macs. That's for numerous reasons.
    1. macs are bloody expensive. A lot of mac models have really nice hardware, but this is completely negated by their price. You can buy a nice windows based laptop for about $800. A comparable mac laptop is somewhere around $1200 at the minimum.
    2. macs won't run the software required for a lot of engineering. Now, let's be very clear here. This isn't idiot college admins making windows software mandatory when there are suitable alternatives. The software we use is stuff like solidworks (3d modeling program) and NI labview. These applications have no OSS equivalent. Even if they did, these applications are industry standard so it actually makes a lot of sense to use them.
    3. Most of the people here are smart enough not to fall for the hype that apple likes to spew. "Thinking different" is great and all, until your computer costs 3 times as much as everything else and isn't even compatible with what you need to do. People here are generally smart enough not to fall for the "OHHH! SHINY!!!!" factor that macs have going for them.

    And now to my second point. How was this study done? Did they survey every student on campus? Did they just ask the people that hung out in the local starbucks (and thus skew it towards mac users)? Did they send an email to the mac users group and ask them what systems they used? Does this university focus on liberal arts, engineering, both? How many people are from each department? I looked it up on wikipedia, but couldn't find detailed statistics. Different professions and fields of study demand different computers. Multimedia generation and editing will be done on mac, engineering stuff will be done on windows, and experimental physics stuff is generally done on linux.

    And of course this survey is only about INCOMING FRESHMEN. What about the people that have been there for 3 years? How many people stuck with their mac? How many people found it to be worthless, sold it, and bought a windows machine?

    Long story short: This study should be taken about as seriously as political polls.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 07, 2010 @07:10PM (#33176550)

    And the 800$ toshiba, to compare what is comparable to the mac series ?

    mac just don't do entry level laptop. If we compare high level prices, we see immediately that apple product are overpriced.

    Toshiba satellite pro with i5, 13" screen and linux is nearly perfect for me, as math student. And those 400$ i've just spare can go in some luscious tacos all throughout the year.

    Tacos feed my world.

  • by catmistake ( 814204 ) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @07:14PM (#33176574) Journal

    I don't think you are lying, just missing salient details.

    Most MacBooks will last a long time; 6 years would be about average, but 7 years or more is not uncommon. That's better than twice as long as any other laptop manufacturer. So consider the useful life of the machine before you throw money away on garbage. Because, no matter what, you get what you pay for. I don't even have to know what the machine is to tell you a $1500 machine is gonna be a lot better than a $350 machine. They aren't made of the same stuff, nor designed the same way. Believe it or not, there's a damn good reason for the higher price tag: quality and expense of materials, engineering and design.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @07:21PM (#33176618)
    Actually, if you look at UVa's IT support policy, you begin to understand these numbers:

    http://itc.virginia.edu/wireless/encrypted.html [virginia.edu]

    At the bottom:

    *ITC provides limited support for these operating systems to connect to the unencrypted wahoo wireless network.

    Sounds like they basically tell incoming freshman, "Don't use 'Linux,' use Windows or Mac OS X, or else we will not help you." Here is something else to consider:

    http://www.uvastudentcomputers.com/shop_undergrad.asp?mscssid=30F0745C151949448828BA5BF0423D90 [uvastudentcomputers.com]

    Notice that they place Apple's laptops higher on the page than Dell's or Lenovo's -- and that they choose words like "fastest" and "most powerful" to describe them (compare with the descriptions of other machines). This store is located in UVa's bookstore, and so incoming students are likely to purchase their computers from there. No surprise, then, that so many students at UVa are using Apple products.

  • by KahabutDieDrake ( 1515139 ) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @07:47PM (#33176754)
    You work for a marketing company don't you? Culture has way more to do with why Macbooks are popular than anything to do with actual differences between them and their competition.

    If the build quality you experience with PC notebooks is low, it's because you are buying crappy notebooks, it has absolutely nothing to do with OS or hardware.

    Just admit you are a snob and be done with it. No one really cares that you drank the kool-aide. Hell, computer people have been drinking the kool-aide for a couple of decades, the only difference was flavor of the month.

    I grew up running PC systems, I learned on them, I worked on them. I continue to use them because now I'm an expert from mom's Email machine to the servers that run everything. I could pick up OSX and learn it, but since it's not mission critical in ANY SETTING ON EARTH (with the possible exception of the graphic design department), I have no need. At the same time, I'm not worried about mac adoption in the younger crowds. They will use the shiny toy until they get into the workforce and no one is going to ask them what they want. They will be handed a PC and expected to use it. Some of them will be able to, some won't. Natural selection at it's finest. Sure, another 10 years and we'll probably see MS lose enough share that it won't be the defacto OS for work anymore. By then, I doubt Apple will even be selling anything we'd recognize as a computer anyway. Their entire effort has been to "change the face of computing", which is great, for limited multimedia and entertainment. When it comes to real work, those "changed" platforms are generally inferior in every measurable way. Yes, you can do email on an ipad, but can you work on it comfortably for 8 hours a day? I didn't think so.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 07, 2010 @07:49PM (#33176764)
    If Apple laptops are so reliable why does everyone recommend AppleCare for them? You would think that super reliable Apple would be to have a better warranty than 12 months.
  • by More_Cowbell ( 957742 ) * on Saturday August 07, 2010 @08:02PM (#33176848) Journal
    Couldn't agree with most of what you said more, just wanted to add one thing:

    and they go to sleep and then wake up from sleep very quickly.

    I finally got around to using the Windows 7 upgrade I bought (on pre-order so it's been a while - it was just too cheap to pass up, but I never figured it would be much of an improvement). My formerly Vista laptop now wakes from sleep, with network connection, just as fast as my girlfriends Mac! (like 2 seconds) I am kicking myself for waiting so long...

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @08:33PM (#33177062)

    I work at a university and I can confirm that you see a lot more Macs there than in the population at large. Number of reasons for this:

    1) Apple is in with the hipster crowd and a lot of university students are. It is "cool" to own a Mac so they do for that reason alone. Same reason they'll spend $60 (really) on an Ed Hardy T-shirt (there's an Ed Hardy store right next to campus)

    2) They tend to have more disposable income in that regard and income they aren't attached to. Normally their parents buy them a computer since all programs recommend it and some require it. Easier to spend extra money when the cost isn't your direct consideration.

    3) The university computer store pushes Apple really heavy. The staff there are Mac fans and Apple gets a large amount of floor space, and that space is right near the entrance.

    So you see a lot. But the majority? No not really. Also there's a big difference between Apple winning and MS losing. The computer store also does brisk business in Windows licenses and VMWare Fusion. Part of the reason Macs are now viable is that they run Windows. One of our student workers told an amusing story of the first test for 1Ls at law school. You have to have a laptop for it, they use a crappy automated testing software. Also, said software is Windows ONLY. This is clearly stated in the materials you get. This leads to much whining from the Mac owners, and then a run to the bookstore to buy Windows 7 and install it with bootcamp (said crap software won't run in virtualization mode).

    Same kind of thing in the department I work in. We have a number of professors that buy Macs for their labs. In some cases, they only get a few. Their desktop, maybe a couple others are Mac and are used mainly for word processing and Internet surfing, maybe some Matlab work. The research systems are Windows. In others they are all Mac, and right after they get their shiny new Mac, they have us get a license for Windows 7 and Fusion. We have a number of important software packages that are Windows only. Also paying a premium for a Mac for a desktop isn't such a big deal, it is grant money anyhow. Paying a premium for a bunch of computers for simulations, well that is a bit harder to justify.

    So ya, the point of all this rambling is that I've no doubt Mac sell well on campus, that is easy to see. However I do doubt that it is a majority, and I doubt even more that it is hurting MS.

  • Brain Limit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by b4upoo ( 166390 ) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @09:26PM (#33177302)

    College can be very demanding and any time at all spent paying attention to a computer or its software or its operation needs to be avoided. Linux is a superior OS but there is a learning curve and the time spent paying attention to the computer may drain the constant pressure towards narrow concentration on subject matters. Back in the day we used to see hackers who used Apple machines simply because they wanted to use all of their concentration in penetration of other peoples' systems.

  • by jbengt ( 874751 ) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @09:42PM (#33177386)

    Come on.

    Before IBM jumped on the bandwagon, the little computers people bought for themselves were known as personal computers. Then, when IBM saw that those just might cut into their business of selling big, expensive computers, they tried an experiment selling small, (relatively) cheap, computers using off-the-shelf parts, and came up with the imaginative name of IBM Personal Computer.

    When the IBM clones came, they were called IBM PC compatible. That got shortened to PC compatible, and eventually we had just PC. Now, most people "know" PCs as separate from Macs even though Apples were PCs before "PCs" were.

  • by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @09:46PM (#33177398)
    "For things like ModelSim that I couldn't get an OS X version of, I just fired up VMware Fusion"

    For things that you couldn't do with a mac, you used windows. I really don't see how you call paying for vmware fusion, paying for windows, then having to run a second virtual computer just to use one software package "no problems using a mac". Sure, you might be using a mac, but it's a mac running windows.

    Running HSPICE on unix machines remotely also doesn't count as "using a mac" because you aren't using a mac, you're using a linux box. You're basically just turning your mac into a windows machine or a linux terminal based on the situation, neither of which is "using a mac".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 07, 2010 @11:08PM (#33177742)

    I have a Toshiba Satellite M305-S4920 laptop (14"), which I purchased for about $900 one year ago. The entire upper portion of the body (the area surrounding the keypad) is one piece of injected plastic. The touchpad is part of that one piece -- it is not a seperate piece of hardware. When I am typing, and my palm rests on the case, the cursor jumps to random points within a Word document. I have used many laptops (from other manufacturers), and no other has ever had this issue. Typing any document becomes an irritating chore.

  • by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @02:19AM (#33178520)

    I don't know if you're sarcastic, but I can't stand the stupidity of your comment.

    I know you're just trolling, but I can't stand the stupidity of your comment. The term "Personal Computer" has nothing at all to do with IBM. It refers to consumer-based computers, and the term was around a full decade before IBM shipped their first PC (frankly, IBM did not believe the PC would ever take off - they thought it was just a fad).

    The first complete personal computer (not an electronics kit) was the Commodor PET. The first commercially successful personal computer was the Apple ][. The best selling PC model of all time, the Commodore 64, was released just a year after the first IBM-PC, and the IBM machine didn't touch the Commadore's 17 million unit sales figure (obviously).

    IBM, frankly, was almost a decade late to the party. They sold a very expensive desktop in the mid 70's for scientific and business use, but nothing at all targeted to the home user until the early 80's.

    The association between the IBM compatible PC and the term "PC" was gradual. It was fueled by IBM's growing popularity in the 80's, and cemented by Microsoft's business savvy - in particular, by not selling their OS to IBM, allowing it to be licensed for use on any compatible hardware. Since hardware had to be made compatible with the IBM to use DOS, and DOS was the only real OS a hardware manufacturer could buy without writing their own, the IBM compatible PC and Microsoft took off like a rocket ship.

    Eventually, PC became synonymous with IBM compatible PC, but it has absolutely nothing at all to do with the name of the first IBM PC. It was simply because the IBM PC was so popular in the 80s, that if you were going to buy a "PC", you were going to buy an IBM or IBM compatible PC.

    In other words, you're an idiot, so why don't you please die instead?

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Sunday August 08, 2010 @05:56AM (#33179132)

    ...So the students that require the greatest assistance in computer use are using either Windows or Apple, students using Linux require very little assistance and that's down to rounding error area.

    Shame you couldn't be bothered to read beyond the first sentence, and then went on to make a blindingly stupid assumption.

    "The data is based on a census of first-year residence halls each fall conducted by the CAs....This table documents how many first-year students brought a personally-owned computer with them to college."

    It's nothing to do with counting assistance requests. It's a census of ownership using the population "living in first-year residence halls", not the population "sought assistance with their computing."

    Was it poor comprehension on your part, or just a demonstration of how far an OS fanatic is prepared to twist any facts that don't match his preconceptions?

"In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved." -- Butler