The education market is significant when it comes to computing devices, with many schools mandating an electronic device to help pupils with their studies. To put this into perspective, for 2014 the market for tablet, laptop, desktop and convertible computers for kindergarten to twelfth grade students was estimated to be $7 billion according to IDC. Computers, in whatever form they are in, are used throughout the education system and of course, into adulthood. If a manufacturer is able to capture a child's mind and imagination at a young age, they have a very respectable chance of keeping hold of the computer investment for a long, long time and this $7 billion may be multiplied several times over. Currently, the two computing heavyweights of Apple and Microsoft are the dominant names that appear on classroom computers but Google's Chromebook, the upstart in the arena, has been taking market share for some time now. A new report from IDC shows how they believe Chromebook sales are responsible for driving demand – and the IDC has estimated that in 2014, that $7 billion spread across 13.2 million systems is around 33% more than 2013.
Comparing the three protagonists shows some marked differences in the products. Apple's overly expensive range of iPads and MacBooks means that it showed the highest share of the revenue for 2014 at around half the total revenue, across 4.2 million devices or 32% of market share by unit sales. Microsoft sold more devices, shifting almost 5 million Windows devices (the number includes laptops and desktops), around 38% market share by unit sales. In third place is the Google Chromebook, with a shade under 4 million unit sales, which is up more than 300% compared with 2013. For the first half of 2015, Microsoft shifted an estimated 2.2 million systems compared with the Chromebook's 2.4 million. The Chromebook has overtaken the Microsoft Windows systems despite Microsoft's smear tactic advertising against the Chromebook.
It's easy to see why the Chromebook is capturing sales: the devices are simple to use, almost completely maintenance free from a computing perspective, have five years of updates straight from Google and all devices come with a built-in keyboard (a requirement in many education districts) and do not require expensive accessories. Not to mention that many Chromebook models are around half the price of the Apple iPad, which for a district, adds up to a significant saving.