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Apple Losing Out To Microsoft and Google in US Classrooms (macrumors.com) 130

Apple is losing its grip on American classrooms, which technology companies have long used to hook students on their brands for life. From a report on MacRumors: According to research company Futuresource Consulting, in 2016 the number of devices in American classrooms that run iOS and macOS fell to third place behind both Google-powered laptops and Windows devices. Out of 12.6 million mobile devices shipped to primary and secondary schools in the U.S., Chromebooks accounted for 58 percent of the market, up from 50 percent in 2015. Meanwhile, school shipments of iPads and Mac laptops fell to 19 percent, from about 25 percent, over the same period, while Microsoft Windows laptops and tablets stayed relatively stable at about 22 percent.
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Apple Losing Out To Microsoft and Google in US Classrooms

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03, 2017 @12:08PM (#53969833)

    I have the feeling price may be a factor here.

    • Exactly.
    • its because apple doesn't come with a start button.
    • 6? i was think more like 10.
    • A school would be stupid to buy $1000 Macbook for 3rd graders. They are getting iPads instead, which cost about the same as a Chromebook.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03, 2017 @04:01PM (#53971537)

        I am on the team that decides the tech our schools use. I guarantee you that the price comparison between iPads and Chromebooks is not 1:1. Apple and their consultants may provide discounts, but they are no where near the level as those on Chromebooks. We buy replacement XE303c12 for about $80 all-in from our vendor and are thinking about upgrading to XE500s for $130 each. Chromebooks (at least the ones we use) are way more robust, actually serviceable, way easier to manage, and supported far longer. We've literally had Apple stuff go EOL on us while still covered by AppleCare; hardware bug == free replacement, software bug == screw you no updates! We are now phasing them out for different tablets we can actually patch security holes in, but for now they are on a separate VLAN so they don't accidentally infect everything when they get hit by a student.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      I have the feeling price may be a factor here.

      Not really, Apple offers good discounts to schools, they sometimes were cheaper than any other competitor. They really took Georing to heart when he said "Give me your children when they are 5 and I will have them for life" (quote from memory, so may be slightly wrong).

      The problem is schools are now given funding based on performance in most western countries. Private schools depend on their graduates getting into good universities and universities depend on students getting good jobs to surivive.

      This

      • by gmack ( 197796 )
        It's not just the under 25 crowd and you are nuts if you think that stragegy will help. A user who learns by rote memorisation will lose it on version changes or even if they click on the wrong spot and now everything is different. And yes I've seen it happen.. it's a large percentage of the "my computer is broken" calls II get at work.
  • and not on professional tools anymore, ...

    • Aren't apple's professional laptops really high end while the google laptops mentioned as beating apple in the classroom really low end? I don't bother keeping up with either, but I thought the pro touch bar apple laptop was like $2000 while the chromebooks' upper end was about $500.

      Are there any classrooms where apple pro books are standard equipment? I could imagine college kids thinking they needed it, but I'd be surprised if most of them demanded pro machines.

      Seems to me like it's the opposite of
      • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

        The $500 machine can be replaced 4 times in the span that the $2000 machine can be for the same hardware cost.

        But it's a mistake to think that you can buy a new Chromebook every year vs. a new MBP every four years... the newness of Apple devices wears off as soon as the new model comes out (or perhaps sooner), which is pretty much yearly. When kids come on campus to consider your school, those 4 year old MBPs won't seem nearly as shiny as the latest Chromebook.

        Considering the cost reduction, the department

        • But it's a mistake to think that you can buy a new Chromebook every year vs. a new MBP every four years

          Not to mention, is a MBP so much more durable it's going to last 4 years of dropping, exposure to water, crumbs, life in a backpack? They are making Chromebooks specifically durably designed for education. Are they as quality a build as the MBP? Probably not. Will the MBP last 4x as long? No way.

      • Aren't apple's professional laptops really high end while the google laptops mentioned as beating apple in the classroom really low end? I don't bother keeping up with either, but I thought the pro touch bar apple laptop was like $2000 while the chromebooks' upper end was about $500.

        You just explained perfectly why ultra cheap Chromebooks outsell Macs in the US education market. Because they are cheaper and it feels like doesn't matter if you have to buy more of them because you have to replace them sooner. So they do. How that works out in the long run however ...

    • As they only focus on iPhone fun toys, ... and not on professional tools anymore, ...

      Your argument would have more teeth if they weren't getting spanked by cheap-as-dirt Chromebooks running nothing but a browser on buttoned-down Linux.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Let's be real, most workplaces use Windows/Linux. So kids are better off.

    • Let's be real, most workplaces use Windows/Linux. So kids are better off.

      This is not true for scientific research, particularly in the mathematical-based sciences, where Linux/Unix is the de facto standard (although I am sure some do use Windows). However of the past couple of years I have noticed that the number of mac laptops used by students in my lectures has declined enormously to be replaced by a large variety of windows machines.

      As I see it the reasons are twofold: price and ability to write on the screen. Students cannot afford the insanely inflated prices for new ha

      • In the Corporate and Government worlds - where compatibility (Office Suite) , manageability, and security are key - it is a Windows desktop world. Servers are mostly Microsoft with a few Linux niche servers (usually web servers) Macs still exists in small offices or marketing / design companies. Managing in a systematic, secure and cost effective manor means minimizing platforms and standardization. It's nice that Universities have all sorts of time, energy and dollars to tweak incompatible crap to
      • Furthermore with the addition of the Linux subsystem for Windows these machines can now run Linux executables without rebooting.

        These days RAM is cheap, even in laptops, and throwing a couple of gigs at a Linux VM is no big deal. It makes a lot more sense than using that stuff and wondering whether your software will work correctly.

      • Plus the ability to write on the screen in tablet mode makes it very easy to email mathematical working and diagrams to professors which is really useful for subjects like physics.

        Darn tooting. Just this week Tim Cook was asked to defend why one couldn't buy a macBook with a detachable keyboard, touch-screen and Pencil.

        if I had a grand to piss up against a wall then a Surface Pro 4 running WSL would be tempting.

    • You are aware that a Mac is a Unix box right? And that with VMs, a Mac is the only machine you can buy that will run macOS (Unix), Linux, and Windows right?
      • by dbialac ( 320955 )

        There are hackintoshes and OSX runs well in VMWare on any PC. VMWare only requires downloading the drivers and there are tools that help you do it. And the restraints on OSX? That's all Apple's doing. NextStep/OpenStep, which OSX is based on, ran on anything with the right hardware.

    • Let's be real, most workplaces use Windows/Linux. So kids are better off.

      Good thing OSX is certified Unix. The only thing not Unix about OSX is the equivalent of their window manager, which is the "duh anyone can use it" part of the OS.

  • by The Relentless ( 901624 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @12:20PM (#53969925)
    Chromebooks are so much easier to manage and maintain from the get-go, without having to purchase any other management software. Just using the G-Suite admin console lets us keep tens of thousands of these devices up to date, and with the necessary apps pushed out. Windows was a nightmare. We didn't even bother with Apple.
    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      The Apple tablets also have problems with SSO and AD environments that use Radius for wireless authentication. Special credentials have to be created on the devices with matching accounts on the authentication server in order to bypass the lack of standard end-user sign-on. This becomes a problem when attempts to streamline result in reusing these generic credentials that the end-user normally never sees and associated problems with credential passing initiated at the device-end causing the account to be
    • At an even more basic level Apple missed the boat. We order computers in lots of 500 or 1000. These eMacs - they do not stack well. Regular Dell desktops made of metal - you can stack these right up to the ceiling. Good luck trying to find someone willing to learn how to swap logic boards in a MacBook. Apple service parts are expensive. Just had to buy a MacBook top case $170.00 - Chromebook part? $50.00 and one Phillips screwdriver - none of those tri-lobe jobs. Can't stack Apples; too difficult/expensive
    • To be fair - Chromebooks have to be purchased with a management license - only certain vendors even let you do that. iPad's can be managed from the get-go using device enrollment program - then tie them in with your existing mdm.

  • No school should accept to be vendor locked-in. Making all students to buy a device from a single vendor, buying (and maybe even developing) applications for that platform, and not being able to switch easily to another hardware provider is dumb.

    At least with chromebooks and Windows PCs, you have plenty of choice of hardware vendors, which is a huge step above Apple.
    You remain locked-in to a software OS, but especially for the chromebook I expect most applications to be web based and should work on any OS.

    • by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @12:29PM (#53969987)

      Never tried to manage a bunch of devices on a network I see.. Remember, that IT guy is a cost center, not a profit maker in nearly all companies.

      There are really good reasons to only have one flavor of device on your IT system, but it mostly boils down to being able to manage it with the least effort and staff.

      • No problem with having only one flavor of device. As long as you can easily switch to another vendor if that flavor of device no longer suits your needs in one or ten years. That's the problem with Apple. The cost to switch out is too high. And that cost should be taken into account BEFORE choosing Apple.

    • by chispito ( 1870390 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @12:32PM (#53970007)

      No school should accept to be vendor locked-in. Making all students to buy a device from a single vendor, buying (and maybe even developing) applications for that platform, and not being able to switch easily to another hardware provider is dumb.

      Said the guy that has never had to provide technical services for a school.

      • What will you do if Apple decides to double the price of iPads?

        • by TWX ( 665546 )
          Probably get together with the rest of the school districts in the state association and bitch until they start offering special educational price breaks.
          • Yeah, of course they will give you a really good price once every school in your district is vendor locked-in to their ecosystem.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              And yet, LA Unified School District completely walked away from an iPad 1:1 program. It can absolutely be done, even at scale.

              I think if they started the LAUSD 1:1 program today there might be a different outcome; the past year of updates to the MDM capabilities has made the iPad much more viable from a provisioning/management standpoint.

              But dat app lock in.....

              At least the license are transferable; the real problem occurs when the app vendor decides to cut off an app for the newer version.

              • It can be done but there is a cost.
                When you start with a platform which has multiple vendors (such as chromebooks or windows PCs) you can seamlessly switch to another vendor if you don't like the old one.

            • by TWX ( 665546 )
              How long do you think a student-use device will last in the field?

              Also, why would you have to use the same product for succeeding generations? One of the advantages that education has is that you can treat the next upcoming class differently than the previous. Don't like how Apple is treating you for devices you provided to 2016-2017 Third Graders? Get a different device for the 2017-2018 Third Graders.
              • Yeah of course. Once every teacher is used to (read: locked-in), once the IT department is sold to and once the administrators have been bought by Apple, it's very easy to switch from the iPad to a competitor.

                If you really believe that I have a bridge to sell you. Vendor lock-in is a real problem for schools. Most of them just don't know it yet.

              • apple forces os updates / windows gives you downgrade rights

    • No school should accept to be vendor locked-in.

      How wrong you are. There is a huge, HUGE advantage in running and managing a set of homogeneous devices.

      "Teacher, I couldn't complete my homework because the web page wouldn't load on Internet Explorer 8 and when I tried to upgrade to Edge it said my version of Windows wasn't supported!"

      • Nothing wrong with homogeneous devices. As long as you are not vendor locked-in.
        You can buy a single model of chromebooks and use the google web apps. The year after you can switch to another chromebook manufacturer. Eventually you may even switch to Windows and use the same web apps.

        When you choose the iPad you are vendor locked-in at every possible level.

        • Nothing wrong with homogeneous devices. As long as you are not vendor locked-in.

          Well I don't know. You didn't say hardware locked, OS locked, or application locked did you? Any of those is vendor lock in.

          You can buy a single model of chromebooks and use the google web apps.

          But you can't (easily) switch to Outlook and MS Word can you? Or Libre Office. Etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03, 2017 @12:27PM (#53969975)

    Back in the 80s Apple pioneered mainstream computing in classrooms. They had very active educational programs and, most importantly, did the accounting, training, and political legwork that made it easy for schools to adapt apple hardware.

    A smart sales rep would sell the program to your board or state education department. You could send your teachers to training where they got their own computer to train on and take home.

    They worked closely with the legendary MECC to help create those early educational titles of legend all kids of the 80s remember (some fondly)

    Apple, now, doesn't do any of that stuff. Why? Who knows. Probably because they don't think it's worth their time and effort.

    Google and Microsoft, on the other hand, are aggressively making it easy for Schools to acquire and manage cloud based services. Google in particular is a DREAM for a school IT department to manage thousands of Chromebooks through easy web based utilities.

    • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @12:53PM (#53970197)
      The entire model from the eighties is gone.

      As a child that grew up in that era, computers in schools were single-taskers. You got your boot floppy with Number Munchers or the like, put it in the computer, turned the computer on, and played the educational game. When you were done, you turned the computer off, took the floppy out, and returned it to where you got it. You couldn't really do anything else with that computer beyond what you were assigned to do.

      This model even managed to perpetuate into the GUI era, the earliest Macintoshes like the Mac Plus models my school had lacked internal storage, You still had to boot up with a floppy and then could only do what you were provided with. Granted, there was that puzzle game, but it was difficult to get off-task with the use of the computer.

      That started to change when internal storage became the norm, as suddenly programs were loaded that gave the student options. Then networks were introduced, and if there were network shares mapped for the student then one could access whatever was on those. Then the Internet came and now there were thousands of things that one could do, only one of which was the assigned task.

      We need computers for students to be limited-purpose machines again, at least in many applications. Children usually have even more trouble than adults making good decisions, and in the case of educational computing, if the entire system can be structured to simply not make that an option then it probably should be structured that way.
    • And they did this by GIVING Apples to schools for free. It was an investment in their future by indoctrinating millions of users to the Apple platform and betting they would be life long users. To a degree, it worked. However, that was a generation ago. Schools are short on dollars and chromebooks are the financial way to go.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's almost as if Tim Cook is a supply-chain hack maximizing short-term profits with no long-term vision (or interest in making good products).

    • by halivar ( 535827 )

      Don't forget Maxis! Played Sim City and Sim Earth for the first time on a Mac LC II in the 6th grade.

      Oh, and Kid Pix! No clue who made it, though.

    • Back in the 80s Apple pioneered mainstream computing in classrooms. They had very active educational programs and, most importantly, did the accounting, training, and political legwork that made it easy for schools to adapt apple hardware.

      ...leading to Apple needing to be bailed out by Microsoft when those education contracts dried up.

    • They worked closely with the legendary MECC to help create those early educational titles of legend all kids of the 80s remember (some fondly)

      Apple, now, doesn't do any of that stuff. Why? Who knows.

      This is actually a piece of history I know! The lead organizer for Apple, know only as Stephanie died on the job. She was found at her keyboard and while they aren't certain, their best guess was that it was dysentery. Someone even posted a picture of her tombstone. [pinimg.com] ;)

  • The real news is that Google is eating Microsoft's school lunch in the US, and starting to become noticeable abroad. Not that I am in love with Google but, as of today, it is vastly preferable over the Redmond beast.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Are we talking about actual computers or tablets and web appliances.
    A good test may be if you can write and run a C program.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03, 2017 @12:38PM (#53970069)

    Personally in IT and we have chromebooks (10k almost), iPads and PCs. Ipads by far are the hardest to manage and I think have the least instructional value.

    -We can't afford an MDM like Casper or Meraki so I use Apple's half-baked profile manager software which is pretty terrible. I know it's more of less free, but if they cared about getting education market share they might want to come up with something a little better. Chromebook management model is an extra $35 for a lifetime license fee which is baked-in and much easier for the purchasers to swallow. Oh yea, free google apps as well and the google admin console is a DREAM. It also integrates with Active Directory via Google Apps Directory Sync and I have SSO set up with SimpleSamlPHP. It's awesome.
    -Because I have a MDM that I'm constantly scared is going to crash (I've had to rebuild it twice trying to get app deployment to work, ultimately it didn't and couldn't get apple to figure out why) I don't trust using the Device Enrollment Program so you NEED a mac to use the configurator for initial setup. I would say Chromebooks are an order of magnitude faster to deploy.
    -iPads don't have keyboards. Chromebooks are cheaper and have a keyboard so you can do ACTUAL WORK.
    -Apple constantly has trouble getting us on-site repairs

    Apple makes shiny single-user devices and I'm glad they missed the boat on education. I only hope I can get people to stop buying the products because "We can't use photoshop on a PC!", just get a bigger monitor and you'll save hundreds!

    Rant over. That felt great.

  • They don't seem to have anything in the pipeline, and the iPhone is approaching the "milk it, cash cow" phase of product lifetime. Lots of minor new features with lots of hype seems to be the current iPhone development mantra.

    .
    Is Apple slowly turning into a "has been" just as the doughnut is ready?

  • by Ayanami_R ( 1725178 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @12:41PM (#53970097)

    Managing them, at least in my school system, was a nightmare. It cost money any way we looked at it, money we didn't have. If they had just built active directory hooks, or given us a way to manage them for free, or less than inflated 3rd party mdm pricing, we might have supported them, we decided not to, but the schools are autonomous. They bought them anyway, then cried when we said we wouldn't touch them. They tried self management, paid for MDM, etc. and no one knew how to work any of it... It was funny.

    • Mac osx sever for VM on any base hardware! It can be done apple just needs to give people the licence to do it.

      • or they could just develop a program that will run on one of the other dozens of win / linux vm's we have. Or better yet a simple to use web based frontend that the schools can manage themselves and leave us out of most of it. We had to install 0 additional infrastructure to support android and win tablets, they need to play catch-up

    • Managing them, at least in my school system, was a nightmare.

      I always wondered why they can't just give the kid an off the shelf iPad and inform the parents that it's their responsibility to ensure their child keeps it free of malware, pr0n, games, etc. My son has an iPad from his (private) school, and it's so locked down he's basically limited to accessing the sites that host his homework.

      I mean, I know 1 in 10 (or whatever) is going to get malware, but isn't that cheaper than the MDM (factory reset and done)?

      (disclaimer: I know very little about MDM).

      • Maybe it's about keeping malware off the school net ... ok.

      • Because parent's 95% of the time are too busy working or simply don't care, and wouldn't do anything. If something slips out that a kid was on a school issued device looking at porn, aswell, then that's a headache, whether it's the parents fault or not. Even if that weren't the case, we have acutal laws on the books that put the responsibility on the school system.

  • They have long focused on iOS products to the detriment of OS X because that is what happens when you have a typical MBA who chases raw revenues and a designer calling the shots. Numbers and shiny. Jobs never neglected the Mac in a serious way because iOS needs a moat on the PC side. The Surface Studio should have been a ground-shaking, holy fucking shit moment at Apple, but I'd bet $100 it was laughed at rather than taken as the deadly serious portent of things to come for how Microsoft is coming after App

  • Of course it is losing out. No competent IT manager for any facility would go apply because of the very high costs. It's a fashion accessory like Rolex, etc. There are some advantages with Apple in somethings but overall at scale it's an absolutely awful brand for consumers. Some of its advantages come from the smaller userbase.

    Even if Apply subsidises in education the people coming out of it need to splash out hugely on Apple and simply wont about it. It's not universally accessible by a long shot and w
  • Apple nowadays does not care about the products that attracted many of us to the Apple world, which was reliable computing in an innovative and competitive platform. And forgets technical guys also attract many people, has many come to us asking advice.

    I estimate I might have caused directly over the years for Apple to sell around 100 devices, and maybe half of that indirectly. But I digress.

    The iPhone is getting a joke, the only argument to buy it nowadays is that is gets so far less malware than Andr
    • by Megane ( 129182 )

      To add insult to injury, in Europe and in my country, you end up paying around 300-400 dollars more for an iPhone, and 600 hundred more for a Macbook than the equivalent models in the US."

      It's called Value Added Tax, and being a simple Murrican, I don't pretend to understand what it means other than Shit Costs A Lot More. Not that we don't have sales tax here, it still adds 100-200 dollars to the price of a laptop, but we don't try to hide it in the price of the product.

      • by ruir ( 2709173 )
        VAT is not that high, it is around 20%-25% depending on the country, not 40%-60%, and besides that you have conveniently ignored my comment about the Surface being the same price.
  • I worked with a school's IT as a consultant. The biggest issue is price for one (comparing Chromebooks and iPads) but another big issue is control. Apple for years never bothered with an MDM solution and schools needed to use expensive thriparty solutions. They've just this past year finally put out their own solution but its probably too late. Google with Chromebooks and G Suite/MDM are just a better solution. Google went after that market aggressively and it paid off.
  • My son was given an iPad for school this year. Most ridiculous decision ever. No keyboard (unless you buy it yourself), and most anything Apple is locked out anyway in favor of G-suite apps. Anything he uses on it on a daily basis is web. They could have had Chromebooks *designed* to work with Google + web for 1/2 the cost, and had a keyboard and touch pad or mouse to boot.

    I caught him putting together a presentation on the iPad and told him to use the computer. The response I got was that they were told t

  • This is kind of a moot point on the "Google" end of things, considering they just announced they are GIVING UP on the Chromebook-business. And I don't think they have a viable Tablet now...

    So, I assume that the Headline is a FUCKING JOKE, like the rest of TFS.

    Let's see what those percentages will be like once the Chromebooks fall over, or the OS or Apps stop working because Google has abandoned them, too...
    • The Pixel Chromebook. The overpriced $1500 cloud pc. Not Chromebooks. I assume the rest of your post is a FUCKING JOKE, just like your premise.
  • Does Apple manufacture computers? It looks like they are focusing on tablets and phones.
    • by Megane ( 129182 )
      They manufacture lifestyle accessories that just happen to have a Unix-like OS buried somewhere inside them.
  • Apple, Microsoft and Google are all walled gardens, just of different flavours.

    I don't care unless the educators finally get a real clue and adopt Gnu/Linux for the classroom, but even I know that just isn't going to ever happen because the Apple/MS/Google all have too much money to ever let it.

  • Mac users expect to pay for good software, but Windows and Linux freeware abounds and schools don't have much money.

  • by beheaderaswp ( 549877 ) * on Friday March 03, 2017 @03:46PM (#53971417)

    I worked for Apple from 1995 until 2001 in the K12 division. They abandoned education gradually as soon as the focus became consumer goods like ipods.

    Also, they ignored competitive advantages they had by not leveraging the Apple Share IP servers which could serve windows clients as well. They made the tech- and never pushed it. At the time it was apparent to me they were pulling out. It was also apparent with the Darwin kernel and the tools taken from NeXT that they had an ready to go enterprise solution in Server 10.

    15 years later.... it's apparent they have pulled out of computers in general. It's sad too. When I pull out my alpha disks of OSX it's apparent that a revolution was lost. I can still load the alpha/pre-alpha OSX on present day Intel hardware. Go figure.

    It's debatable as to whether they made the right decision or not- could they make a bundle in the enterprise? But to the engineers that worked there at the time paradise was indeed lost.

    • by Megane ( 129182 )

      Over the past two years, I have bought at least four used Apple computers from the 2010-2012 era. (Three macmini and one 13" MBP; one of each are late 2012 models) Because, frankly, IMHO, the newer ones are less desirable due to non-upgradeable soldered crap, and also Intel's mobile CPUs not getting much better since then. The macmini is great, just hook it up to a modern TV set (except for the few that won't let you turn off overscan and image processing), fill it with RAM (hopefully 16GB) and you're ready

  • Students and tax-payers losing out to corporate profits?

  • Instead of giant licensing deals and flashy hardware, they bulk buy an education board... like a pi, and have the computer lab teach a class of kids how to set em up for use in the classrooms? Why is this such a tough concept? Teach the kids to help teach the kids teaching kids! Damn board is DESIGNED for this sort of thing, and at 35 bucks, its a steal.

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