Microsoft aiming to emulate Google’s Chromebook strategy

Although Google dominates the education marketplace in the U.S., to maintain its rank it will have to strengthen its position in classrooms overseas, and make educators see the impetus in embracing its technology ‘en masse’.

Google has made significant inroads in U.S. classrooms in recent years with its Chromebook being the computer of choice for educators and schools in many districts.

From a standing start, the Chromebook has reached wild levels of popularity today in the education technology sector. This is important since traditionally the tech sector has viewed the education market as a critical area to win over next gen users.

As per Futuresource Consulting, in 2016 mobile devices running Google’s Chrome operating system accounted for almost 58% of the U.S. market for primary and secondary schools.

Microsoft’s new recent product launches are also targeting this sector. The new version of its Windows operating system has features which boosts the collaboration between students. As per industry watchers, its new Surface laptop is also show the influence of the Chromebook.

“The success of the Chromebook has awakened sleeping giants,” said Tyler Bosmeny, CEO of Clever, an education technology company. “There’s so much investment into the space – it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”

Although for years Apple and Microsoft stuck to their strategies of offering slightly modified and discounted versions of their product for educators, however with the Chromebook smart price points – it starts at $149 – and easy management, schools and students have embraced it in droves.

From 2012 to 2013 the sale of Chromebooks have jumped by more than 10 times, said Rajen Sheth, a senior director of product management at Google.

Google manufactures the devices and are supplied by partners, including Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Acer Inc. Its operating system is entirely free for educators and hardware manufacturers. Google also sells schools an education package which includes device management and support for just $30.

According to Mike Fisher, an associate director for the education division at Futuresource Consulting, Microsoft is now trying to emulate key aspects of the Google’s Chromebook strategy.

Microsoft’s hardware partners are now selling hybrid tablet-laptop devices, which are based on the Surface design with price tags which are as low as $189. Microsoft executives boasts that recent changes to the operating system have enabled it to boot up devices rapidly.

Fast booting is a hallmark of the Chromebook.

However for Microsoft the going is likely to be tough.

“The Google education ecosystem is quite straightforward. With Microsoft, there’s a lot of moving parts,” said Fisher.

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