Apple loses more ground to Google’s Chromebook in U.S. education market

“For the first time, Chromebook sales surpassed 51% in the K-12 market nationwide in the third quarter, according to a report recently released by market researcher Futuresource Consulting,” Jon Swartz reports for USA Today. “The surge reflects a fundamental shift in how American schools are buying tech in bulk and assessing students online, placing an emphasis on low-cost, easy-to-manage machines.”

“‘It’s a tidal wave: Chrome is the clear U.S. market leader now,’ says Mike Fisher, associate director of education technology at Futuresource. He says districts are drawn to the Chromebook’s Web-based operating system, ease of use, IT manageability and $200 to $300 price range,” Swartz reports. “Chromebooks — laptops running Google’s Chrome OS as their operating systems — made significant strides, year-over-year. Chromebooks’ market share jumped to 51% from 40%. Apple products, mostly iPads but also laptops and Mac desktops, declined to 24% from 32%. Windows-based machines remained steady, at 23%.”

“Microsoft, through national contracts and Windows-based machines, remains on top for the K-12 market worldwide, with a 47% share. Chromebooks follows at 19% and Apple at 13%, says Futuresource,” Swartz reports. “Winning students at an early age is considered crucial for tech companies in the approximately $15 billion K-12 market in the U.S. Apple, through its dominance of the education market during the Steve Jobs years, helped establish its strong brand overall and shape the computing habits of millions of young Americans.”

‘The trend away from Apple products hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Cupertino, Calif. company now run by Tim Cook,” Swartz reports. “On Monday, it released education updates to its mobile operating system, version iOS 9.3 — namely, a simplified log-in and the ability to more easily share and manage iPads in schools securely — in hopes of wresting back market share. It also has shaved iPad prices.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Too little, too late for Apple?

This news is hardly surprising. After all, U.S. public education is hardly noted for its intelligence, innovation and creativity. Chromebooks are a perfect fit.

Check out the best schools: Apple Macs and iPads dominate.

Apple delivers multi-user support for iPad – in schools only – January 11, 2016
Why Apple devices are losing share to Chromebooks in U.S. public schools – December 23, 2015
Apple CEO Cook on Google Chromebooks in U.S. schools: We’re not interested in making ‘test machines’ – December 11, 2015
Apple pivoting iPad education strategy to regain its footing in face of Google Chromebook surge – December 5, 2014


  1. Its all economics; people for one thing use whatever is inexpensive; froogle could not sell its hardware so it donated them to the education department – the educational departments were happy for the brain dead machines and hence Apple looks bad? The dumb cylon hardware will not last over two years of use and the educational department shall see if it has the budgets for new machines. Apple needs to donate more or make quality low end machines. Recycled iPads were last years wonder story; as parents and kids were both happy using the honour system to sign out iPads and take home. Haven’t seen articles like that regarding Froogles crap.


      Between schools chrom OS… And Windows dominance in destktop high performance gaming ….. These kids are growing, learning and becoming more familiar and comfortable with those platforms and Brands ….( i see this with my own eyes among kids of 12-17 today )
      And slowly but surely they are associating cool and high perforamce with other brands !!!!!! Regardless of Apple eco sys..and superiority of produce quality and design…….
      APPLE You are loosing your touch with the next generation of kids growing up into the the productive sector..
      Those who will choose what platform to use next.
      Very short sighted !

      Evey effort has to be made to make sure kids see apple as the familiar place to hang hout …and A place where they can get the best bang for their activities… GAMING, SCHOOL.

      If ignored … The whole image of Apple as the best technology out there will fade.. Including The Iphone.

      TIM AND TEAM… come on….. ,!!! This is very short sighted marketting strategy… Or an increadibly stupid oversight ! IMHO and kids i see around me!

  2. REALLY hate saying this…but Google’s services (online collaboration/classroom) is really pretty good. I realized this when a watched my daughter work on a presentation with a classmate. Pretty slick and is much better than what Apple has to offer. That said, the funny thing is that it is platform agnostic and doesn’t require a Chromebook…

    So..the services are great and allows flexibility in hardware..but some IT/Admins don’t see that and defeat the benefits of google services by locking into a specific “hardware” platform anyway…typical.

    1. Hate to admit, Froogles online Docs (really are good alternatives to powerpoint, word and excel) and accessible by any platform. Yes, if security is not a worry, if mediocrity is not an issue, if the platform and performance too is meaningless – sure enjoy you kiddies in using Froogle. After all, they love U-Bube videos though they should avoid the trash there – but I guess schools these days don’t care.

    2. Um….collaboration like that exists with Apple’s stuff and Microsoft’s stuff. Google has no great lead or domination there. I’ve used all three. They’re about the same.

      1. Yes, MS and Apple have collaboration functionality, but Google’s collaboration is a step or two ahead in that the ‘live’ aspect works really well. Otherwise, Google Apps provide a mediocre experience at best compared to MS and Apple offerings.

        1. Yes, live. That’s what I am referring too. They were working on the presentation at the same time and could see edits live. It was funny cause the guy kept putting black text on a blue background. My daughter kept changing the font to white. Was fun to watch. She won, obviously.

  3. Apple lost U.S. education on Tim Cook’s watch. When this comes back to bite Apple in the ass when these kids hit buying/procuring age, don’t forget whose fault it was.

    Hey, but at least he made it “acceptable” for mentally ill “transgenders” to “work” at Apple. Cook’s priorities need adjustment.

    1. Apple definitely has egg on its collective face over this, but I don’t think it’s an indicator at all of what’s gonna happen in the future. The three major reasons school systems choose Google are:
      1. Cost
      2. Management ease
      3. U.S. curriculum standards (i.e., the kids are taught to ‘study for the test’.

      Google apps does noting more than provide a really expensive word processor-that’s all my teens use Chromebooks for (along with notification of assignments). They could easily do the same with any other solution. Wilson School District in West Lawn, Pa made a mistake by going the Chromebook route. A neighboring school, Berks Catholic, just announced an iPad 1:1 initiative. I’ve spoken to both systems- iPad system is much more capable for a variety of reasons. With the upcoming iOS 9.3, most/all of the ‘advantages’ of the Chromebook product will be nullified.

      In the long run, I suspect that Google will have the same trouble expanding it’s services in the school systems as they have trying to enter the enterprise market- security and privacy are huge issues among the enterprise types, and Google ain’t got either. Also, Chromebooks are relatively useless for providing any kind of app ecosystem, and by extension any kind of creative or consumptive potential (as compared to the Apple App ecosystem with iOS) for similar reasons- once you provide access to apps on the Google App Store via Chrome, you open the door to all of the malware, trojans, low quality ‘free’ apps, etc that’s omnipresent in the android ecosystem.

    1. Wrong. Kids care about the app, not the brand name sticker on the device. Now that Android’s app store offers all the same apps from all the same developers that the iOS app store does, Apple’s going to have to do a better job keeping up with technical specs. As for education, multi-user is a no brainer that should have been part of iOS back in iOS7. Instead Apple blew its wad making iOS7 white and gray with hideous readability. That’s when the people who aren’t religiously wedded to Apple started looking around at alternatives in earnest.

      1. Android’s app store may offer similar apps to the Apple App store, but they’re by no means the same. The vast majority of apps on Googles site are freemium-type apps and/or malware, which rely on collecting personal data to make $$$. This is why nobody spends money on Android apps, as evidenced by Apple’s commanding lead in App Store revenue and developer payouts. Schools should want quality apps from quality developers to not only protect the kids, but also to make sure the developer will be in business for years to come (thereby minimizing the need to buy or download new apps on a regular business because developers keep dropping out).

        iOS 9.3 will finally add multi-user for school systems, and a slew of other enhancements. It’s late, but not too late.

        1. While I can agree with you on the app variety breakdown in the App stores vary, I think Mike’s point is that more often than not the same App that is of interest to the kids exist in both places. The vast majority of apps on Google Play being freemium makes no difference in that case.

          As for multi-user on iOS let’s all reserve comparison till it is actually in use.

  4. First, Google docs and services are quite good. Please save your fanboy love for another discussion or concretely and with FACTS tell me otherwise.

    Chromegbooks are a brilliant invention for low power computing. Not everyone, and certainly not schoolkids, needs to run Final Cut Pro or Mathmatica. Chromebooks give you an office suite and a web browser. That’s what you need as a student.

    Chromebooks offer multi-user support and ease of administration. Chromebooks can be redistributed without the need for admins to do a complete wipe and install dance.

    Chromebooks are cheap enough to distribute to a large number of students with no fear of abuse or wear.

    Apple fanboys live in a world where there are unlimieted resources and app and platform centric computation.

    A computer is a tool, no more, no less.

    1. Google has essentially bribed its way into the market. It isn’t that their products or services are preferred, they are imposed, and educators have zero say in the matter as those decisions are made by corporations. Welcome to privatized education, one of the most patently corrupt industries in America, and oddly one that few are paying attention to. Also, yes, the kids are the ones losing out, and it is very sad. Years they cannot get back are being stolen from them.

      1. That is your spin.. The spin in the other direction would be that Google has provided a cost effective solution (HW, administration, ecosystem) making computing technology accessible to all levels of the K-12 educational system. In an ideal world where education where cost is not a factor it is quite possible iOS devices would be preferred, however the current K-12 system does not have that luxury. Please provide a link to back your argument that corporations impose use of Chromebooks over other devices and educators have no say. My friends and associates that happen to be in the K-12 educational system (teachers to district supervisors) have done their own research and discussed the pro/con of each solution and decided on Chromebooks for having a better ROI for their current needs.

  5. I’m not sure that the particular tech kids use in primary and secondary school these influence them as adults. My kids primarily used PCs at school, but Macs at home. My son is in college, and most of the students use Macs. So guess what he uses? A Mac. I think what students would CHOSE to use (as opposed to what is forced on them by the public schools) are a better indication of their future computer purchases.

  6. There is nothing new about the concept of a thin client – businesses have been using them for decades with network applications like Citrix. If you want to trade options with optionsXpress it is all web-based and would run just as well on a Chromebook as in my Mac Pro.

    The critical issues in education are device management and malware. Chromebook takes all that pain away. It’s a bigger screen and much cheaper.

    Horses for courses: Chromebook wins because it meets user needs at the right price. Apple missed this and lost out.

    1. “The critical issues in education are device management and malware. Chromebook takes all that pain away. It’s a bigger screen and much cheaper.”

      I disagree. The critical issues in education are teaching our kids to learn and to be creative. You’re thought process is stuck in the 1990’s world of Microsoft, when the IT morons ran the show. Apparently, IT priorities still rule, at the expense of learning.

      Google lost the malware battle a long time ago vs. iOS. Chrome is ‘safe’ because it’s a very exclusive walled-garden (how ironic…). Google will have a rough time trying to convince schools to utilize any kind of app offering because of malware and privacy concerns.

        1. Chrome is nothing more than a closed, browser based system. IE and Safari could easily mimic Chrome. So as far as availability, IE, Safari, Firefox, etc are already available on multiple platforms. The Safari equivalent to Chrome would be an iCloud notebook with Pages, Keynote and Numbers exclusively, with some basic browser standards built in, and closed to everything else. (Of course Apple wouldn’t place our kids’ privacy at risk…). Chrome claims ease of management and security because it’s relatively restricted in functionality. Compare that to the robust, secure and app-supported platform that is iOS, and you see the difference in potential and power. Again, Google leads because it’s cheap, and our educational IT folks took the bait, hook line and sinker. I’m glad my kids are moving on to bigger and better things soon.

  7. only rich schools catering to private school snobs go all apple. and they will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes… the revolution started by the rest of the 99%…

    google and chrome is a perfect EDU eco system.

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