Watch Out MSFT: 22% Of U.S. School Districts Use Chromebooks

by Business Insider | October 3, 2013 8:00 am

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 why Microsoft (MSFT[1]) offers schools all kinds of discounts[2] and both Microsoft and Google (GOOG[3]) give schools free access to their respective clouds, Office 365 and Google Apps.

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[4] 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[5]) 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[6]), Toshiba (TOSBF[7]), Acer (ACEIF[8]) and Asus all announced new Chromebooks last month[9] 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.

Endnotes:
  1. MSFT: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=MSFT
  2. discounts: http://www.microsoft.com/education/en-us/buy/Pages/eligible.aspx
  3. GOOG: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=GOOG
  4. a report by NPD Group: https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/windows-touch-and-chromebooks-boost-us-back-to-school-computer-sales-but-not-enough-to-stop-overall-declines-according-to-the-npd-group/
  5. AAPL: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=AAPL
  6. HPQ: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=HPQ
  7. TOSBF: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=TOSBF
  8. ACEIF: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=ACEIF
  9. Chromebooks last month: http://www.engadget.com/2013/09/11/google-and-intel-announces-new-haswell-chromebooks/

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