Google Chromebook Overtakes Apple iPad in Educational Sales

By Clayton Hamshar December 05, 2014

Google has finally overtaken Apple in sales to U.S. schools, with the Chromebook inching ahead of the iPad after a long-standing lead. Google sold 715,500 of its low-end laptops in the third quarter of 2014, with Apple only selling 702,000 iPad tablets, according to a recent report from the market research firm IDC.

"Chromebooks are really gaining traction," said Rajani Singh, an analyst with IDC. "The growth of Chromebook is a major concern for Apple’s iPad."

The news follows another recent report from the IDC regarding the worldwide tablet market, which found that year-over-year growth is expected to slow from 52.5 percent in 2013 to 7.2 percent in 2014. This slowdown can partially be attributed to dwindling iPad sales, which fell 12.7 percent from 2013.

Apple maintains a small lead over Google in sales to schools and colleges when MacBook laptops are taken into account. In this extremely competitive and finicky market both companies still lag significantly behind long-time leader Microsoft Windows, although they come closer each year.

"Samsung, HP, Dell and Acer make Chromebooks and has been active promoting the device to school districts" Singh continued. "Low upfront costs and simpler device management for schools’ IT departments has increased their appeal, compared with Apple’s higher-priced tablets, which start at $379 for last year’s iPad Air, including educational discounts."

A Chromebook sells for as little as $199. Educators have noted that, in addition to the lower price, the Chromebook is an attractive option because it includes a keyboard. Touchscreens are quite versatile which may seem like an advantage for Apple, but new Chromebook models are increasingly touchscreen as well. However, Apple still maintains a dominant hold specifically on tablet sales for the education market over the less popular Android tablet offerings.

Both companies have poured significant resources into their educational efforts. There are more than 75,000 educational tools in Apple's App Store, teachers can create courses in the iTunes U app and publishers can create textbooks for the iBooks store. Google recently launched Google Play for Education, a customized version of its app store to help teachers and students find educational apps as well as provide tools for IT departments to manage Chromebooks and Android tablets.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Contributing Writer

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