Despite a seeming upsurge in US reporting on Chromebooks and ChromeOS usage in schools recently, a new report highlights the substantial global presence Windows has as a platform for K-12 education. According to a market report from Futuresource, a consulting analytics firm, Microsoft not only continues to be the global platform of choice for K-12 education, but thanks in part to Windows 10, managed to ship twice as many Windows devices than its closest competitor in 2015.
Futuresource takes into account and tracks the sales of mobile computers in the K-12 educational sector while also excluding the use of desktops. The mobile computing category Futuresoruce examines includes notebooks, Chromebooks, netbooks, as well as tablets.
With that being said, thanks to Windows 10 adoption and deployment among schools, Futuresource is reporting a spike of 20% in the sale of Windows devices last year, compared to the previous year. Specifically, Mike Fisher, the associate director of education technology at Futuresource claims “Microsoft is the clear global market leader, reaching 47% of the mobile computer K-12 OS market in Q4 of 2015.”
Part of Windows 10 success in the education sector is being attributed to its free built-in antivirus software with Windows Defender as well as additional login security features such as Windows Hello. Another lesser known addition called Lightspeed Systems Management Bundle for Windows is also helping schools get up and running with Windows 10. The software bundle allow schools to tap into a free online productivity tool designed for teachers and students to easily set up and manage devices, thus taking a lot of the burden off of IT pros.
Even though some Windows competitors leverage the same manufacturing partners, collaborations with Asus, HP, Lenovo and Dell have been fruitful for Microsoft and its Windows 10 push into education with a range of affordable and “school-ready” devices. With devices coming in as low as $199 retail (assuming schools get a wholesaler discount), it’s no wonder Microsoft and its partners are experiencing such demand.
Note, among the most successfully shipped devices were the Asus Transformer Book Flip TP 200 (yeah, a mouthful), Dell Latitude II Education Series (Model 3150), HP Stream 11 Pro Notebook PC Lenovo N22, and Microsoft’s own Surface Pro 4.
Anecdotally, schools from around the world have chimed in with their Windows 10 roll out stories and corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices group Yusuf Mehdi is quick to highlight them on the company’s Windows blog.
We implemented Windows 10 to take advantage of the additional education-specific features,” says Lyneth Crighton, head of innovation and staff development at Brescia House School in Johannesburg, South Africa. “Students enjoy the touchscreen abilities and Office 365 features,” Crighton said, while “the teachers love being able to use educational apps they find in the Windows Store and OneNote Class Notebooks.”
Windows 10 is “the foundation of our innovative practices, allowing for us to extend learning even beyond the classroom,” says English teacher and professor Yaiza Burgoa. “And it is an operating system that is easy to learn, easy to use and easy to build on.”
The list goes on, including schools from North America to Australia. While some still have their reservations about Windows 10, it’s becoming apparent that schools are seeing a financial and more importantly, educative benefit to using Microsoft’s latest operating system. Even as competitors such as Apple or Google continue to fight for space in the education sector, Microsoft appears to be using the competition as fuel for offering schools and its faculty, the tools needed to succeed.