E Microsoft Makes A Splash In Education Market; Then The Rivals Circle

Just a little over two weeks after making a big push into the education market with the launch of its impending Surface laptop and Windows 10 S operating system, Microsoft (MSFT) is facing re-intensified competition from the likes of Amazon (AMZN) and Apple (AAPL), who all want more of the multibillion dollar K-12 education market.

For some time now Alphabet’s (GOOG) Google has owned the market with its Chromebook and apps geared toward schools and students. Recognizing it’s a big industry, one that has the potential to grow, Microsoft tried to get back to the head of the class in early May, announcing the Surface Laptop with comes equipped with a 13.5-inch screen, weighs 2.76 pounds and will launch in burgundy, cobalt, platinum and gold. The device designed for the education market will sell for $999 and is slated to start shipping by June 15. Accompanying the Surface laptop is Microsoft’s new Windows 10 S operating system, which is streamlined for classroom use and only let’s users run applications that are downloaded from the Microsoft’s Windows Store. It is aimed directly at Google’s Chrome operating system, which powers bare-bones Chromebook laptops.  Microsoft is taking a page from Google by making the device and the OS simple to use and secure.

Will The K-12 Education Market Breathe New Life Into PC Sales?

Microsoft’s stock got a slight boost on the news as investors and analysts bet it’s a way to breathe new life into its PC business. With the market for desktop and notebook computers slagging around the globe, all of the computer players are looking for different avenues of growth. Market research firm IDC recently found worldwide shipments of desktops, notebooks and workstations only saw a slight uptick of just 0.6 percent during the first quarter, hitting 60.3 million units shipped. That is essentially flat with a year ago and marks the first time in five years PC shipments increased during the first quarter. Helping the overall market were Chromebook sales. At last count roughly 20 million students, most in the U.S., use a Chromebook. IDC estimates around 10.8 million Chromebooks shipped last year with that forecast to grow by 15 percent this year. In 2015 7.7 million Chromebooks were shipped, according to IDC.

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