In the war over who owns the future of the PC, there is one super important battleground: schools.
Kids that grow up using a particular flavor of tech tend to take it with them into the workforce.
That’s also why this is a statistic that should deeply scare Microsoft: About 22% of the school districts in the U.S. are now using Google Chromebooks. That’s over 5,000 K-12 schools, Caesar Sengupta, vice president of product management for Chromebooks told Business Insider. (Sengupta was one of the original Chromebook team members, starting it in his free time as a “20-percent” project.)
Chromebooks are the cloud-based notebooks that run Chrome OS as the operating system.
“We are heavily investing in Chromebooks,” Sengupta told us. “There’s two different segments we care a lot about: consumers … and K-12 schools.”
Sengupta is pleased with its progress so far with both groups. He points to a report by NPD Group from last week which says that in just a year, Chromebooks went from negligible share in the back-to-school PC market to 3%.
Google sold 175,000 units in the 10 weeks of June 30- Sept. 7, NPD analyst Stephen Baker found with Chromebooks providing “all the growth” in a lackluster market hurt by tablets. Overall PC sales declined 2.5% from the 2012 back-to-school period.
To be fair, Windows still sold the lion’s share, commanding 58% of the market (compared to almost 61% in the year-ago period) and Apple (AAPL) Macs held on to 20%, NPD says.
So Sengupta knows there’s still work to do and he’s working on it. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Toshiba (TOSBF), Acer (ACEIF) and Asus all announced new Chromebooks last month using Intel’s new Haswell chip, priced at about $300 and available for the holiday season. Haswell promises fast performance and very long battery life.