Microsoft Touts ‘Strong Growth’ for Windows in Education

Posted on December 6, 2017 by Mehedi Hassan in Microsoft, Windows, Windows 10 with 52 Comments

Windows is finally hitting back at Chrome OS in the Education market. Following the downfall of Windows in the education sector, Microsoft recently started focusing on the market to gain back its market share from Chrome OS with the launch of Windows 10 S. The company today touted the “strong” growth of Windows PCs in the education sector in the United States and worldwide.

Windows device market share grew by 4.3% for sub $300 devices in the United States in K-12 schools, while devices over $300 saw an 8.2% increase from last quarter. The growth of Windows isn’t effectively “strong” yet, as Microsoft would need to continue the trend in the following quarters if it actually wants to take over Chrome OS — at least in the States where Chrome OS still holds 59.8% of the market.

Microsoft is actually citing the data from a recent report from analytics firm Futuresource, which claims Chrome OS experienced the slowest growth ever last quarter, with the market share shifting from 57.9% from Q2 2017 to 59.8% in the United States. Apple’s iOS and Mac devices have also experienced a steep decline over the last quarter in the United States, losing 6.1% and 0.1% share of the market respectively.

As for the rest of the world, Windows continues to dominate the education sector with 66.5% of the market (up from 57.1%). Windows’ growth — mostly led by increased sales in India and Argentina — means Chrome OS lost a good portion of the market, dropping by roughly 10% over a single quarter.

The growth for Windows was likely led by the recent launch of Windows 10 S and affordable Windows laptops that promise to offer improved security and a streamlined deployment experience for IT Pros in schools. Microsoft expects the education market to grow by 15% YoY worldwide, which should help boost Windows 10 S and its other solutions for the education market. But being able to keep up the growth in the US should be a priority for Redmond.

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Comments (52)

52 responses to “Microsoft Touts ‘Strong Growth’ for Windows in Education”

  1. Sprtfan

    "Microsoft would need to continue the trend in the following quarters if it actually wants to take over Chrome OS — at least in the States where Chrome OS still holds 59.8% of the market."

    I see the two interchanged a lot but I don't think market and sales are the same thing. I have a friend that working in IT for a school district and their Windows desktop/laptops are on a different refresh schedule than their Chromebooks (5 year vs 3 year). Not that this is really that important to the story but thought it was worth mentioning.

  2. Jorge Garcia

    Pushing full Windows (even a crippled versions of it) on little Kids is going to look like child abuse in the not too distant future. I have actually contacted high-level execs at HP telling them that if they intend to keep selling laptops to any millennials in the next few years and decades, they need to make their own in-house version of desktop Android (a la Dex) and release variants of all their Windows laptops with that HP-OS installed. They could buy RemixOS or PhoenixOS and save themselves 90% of the work and a whole lot of time. I think it is foolish of them to keep depending on MS to make a computing interface that will appeal to young people moving forward. Win32 is great to nerds like us, but it has hit a wall and there is no way to back out of will become an anchor around MS's neck someday. MS, Wintel, x86...these things will only matter to businesses moving forward, and even that won't be indefinite. Of course those HP execs thought I was a loon, but I don't care...I believe strongly in what I am saying, because at 38 years old, I feel that I am old enough to appreciate what Windows is and does, but young enough to know that the younger generations WILL NOT voluntarily go "backwards" and adopt Windows now that the whole World has almost gone mobile-first in just a few years. That being said, I do think that HIGH SCHOOLS should be required teach future kids how to use Full Windows before sending them off into to the college/the workforce, as legacy Windows WILL still be a necessary evil in business for years to come. But as I said above, they won't be buying any Windows products for their personal use AT ALL.

  3. nbplopes

    Google has not marketed Chrome OS outside the US as far as I can tell. This is what the graphs shows. There was a time were MS had 98% of the education market or so.

    It may be the case that MS at least stalled Chrome OS climb, but this is different from suggesting strong growth for MS in that market. The results of this year will be the same has last year overall with exception of Apple decline. Which is natural considering its price in a price first/sensitive marketplace.

    The rest is speculation over the possible success of Windows S ARM. I wonder how it will fare in actual use.

    • SocialDanny123

      In reply to nbplopes:

      Chrome OS has to compete against Office 365. Which on its own has a massive monopoly over G Suite.

    • robincapper

      In reply to nbplopes:

      Curious about New Zealand. Only figure I could find for Education market share is Chrome 46%, Windows 32% and Apple 22% (which I presume would be largely iOS) but that was quoting a Google post

    • fbman

      In reply to nbplopes:

      yes, that is correct. Chromeos has only really been successful in the US. Here in south africa, it not marketed at all. We do get them here, but for us, data is really expensive, so it makes no sense to work in the cloud permanently. The average student cant afford the data.

      • Jack Smith

        In reply to fbman:

        Interesting that ChromeOS has not been marketed outside the US yet enjoyed 33% YoY growth worldwide while Windows grew 3%.

        Guess if Google does market it outside the US MS will be in trouble in K12.

    • Jorge Garcia

      In reply to nbplopes:

      IMO ChromeOS will be seen retrospectively as a huge wrong turn for Google. ChromeOS is what happens when you let the nerds make the final call lol. Awesome, but WRONG for a lot of normal people. They really needed to make ANDROID into their flagship OS, and create desktop-able variants of it (and of certain key apps), rather than try to graft Android onto ChromeOS retroactively, which will never feel right. Motorola had the basic concept down years ago with their Atrix interface (software-wise of course!). I think ChromeOS has cost Google years of VOLUNTARY consumer purchases (ramming down children's throats doesn't count to me as adoption).

  4. Hifihedgehog

    Since I am a non-premium member, I will reply to the article here. Thurrott wrote:

    “Can Windows 10 S on ARM run x86 apps?

    No, unless they’re built into Windows. Otherwise, you have to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. When you do, you can install and run apps like Chrome, iTunes, Photoshop, and the like.”

    From what I understand, this is only partially true. Correct me if I am wrong, but I was of the understanding that Project Centennial x86 applications also work on Windows 10 S (ARM) via Windows on ARM emulation. So iTunes (coming soon), Krita, Kodi, EarTrumpet, etc., all on the Microsoft Store app, are therefore still installable on an ARM-based Windows 10 S device.

    • skane2600

      In reply to Hifihedgehog:

      I don't know if you're right or not, but keep in mind that Centennial was introduced in the context of Intel based PCs running full Windows. It was promoted as the first step for converting a traditional Windows program into a UWP app.

      Also consider that if Win32 emulation is available on Windows 10 S (ARM) without an upgrade, there's really no reason why Centennial needs to be involved - the Win32 programs could be emulated directly.

      • Hifihedgehog

        In reply to skane2600:

        True, but Windows 10 S restricts non-Store applications from running which makes Centennial incredibly imperative. This means only traditional applications that are packaged in the Store via Project Centennial can be run on Windows 10 S. Remember Windows 10 S will refuse to run any traditional executable, natively or emulated, outside of the Store. Further, many developers prefer developing using the traditional tools and resources and do not want to port over to or cross-develop in UWP. This is why Centennial is so important and necessary for the immediate future.

  5. maethorechannen

    Are Chromebooks even available in Argentina? I'm finding it hard to find a list of where Chromebooks are sold. I've got a number - 25, but not a complete list, with no sign of Argentina anywhere.

    I'm not sure how useful a metric "Rest of world" is if Windows is available everywhere and Chrome OS isn't.

  6. Tony Barrett

    The education market doesn't need Windows. Full stop. Even 10S is too heavyweight, insecure and limited. It requires more support, and is less reliable. Upgrades are still a major PITA too. What MS are likely doing is offering some *very* aggressive discounts to try and stem the flow of Chromebooks into schools. While they've had a bit of a surge, as you'd expect, Chromebooks are still growing. That trend hasn't stopped, and I'd expect Chromebooks to continue to grow - education is a market they were almost designed for.

  7. Jack Smith

    Reading your chart ChromeOS grew 33% YoY worldwide and Windows grew 3%. So your headline is not consistent with the headline.

    Then in the US Windows fell almost 10% from the high earlier in the year and ChromeOS was up from highs.

    Can you explain how the data is consistent with?

    "Microsoft Touts ‘Strong Growth’ for Windows in Education"

    I am missing something here. Or is the data in the chart incorrect?

    • Demileto

      In reply to Jack_Smith:

      My understanding is that the first column in both charts are for the entire year of 2016, while the other three are for each quarter of 2017. Perhaps that's where your misunderstanding comes from.

  8. dontbe evil

    glad to see they're moving away from tablets toy os

  9. Bats

    The bottom line is this:

    CHROME OS is still growing.

    Windows 10S is growing at the expense of iOS.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Bats:

      Where on the chart or in the linked article does it say Windows 10 S is growing? The linked article mentions Windows 10 S exactly once and only in the context of new MSFT offerings. Attributing anything to Windows 10 S is either wild-ass guessing or credulously accepting any MSFT utterances.

  10. DahaBraha

    Hi there. Thank you for this article, I'm really interesting in reading it. Maybe because a lot of students don’t have enough time to study, because they have to earn money to pay for their education bills, and that’s why, of course, they have to ask for help in creating a functional resume, for example, which is why the downfall of Windows in the education sector was. I think that is good that Windows is finally hitting back at Chrome OS in the Education market.

    • DionCastillo

      In reply to DahaBraha:

      Microsoft this week turned the spotlight on the "Fall Creators Update" edition of Windows 10 Internet of Things (IoT), previously known as Windows Embedded. Available in three editions (Enterprise, Mobile and Core), Windows 10 IoT is typically used by small-device or industrial-device software developers. Microsoft refers to the Windows 10 IoT Fall Creators Update as "build 16299," not "version 1709," which is reserved for the desktop version of the OS that gets biannual service updates, that dont very usefull in education and in any kind of writing, even at essay writing

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  13. chrisrut

    True zero touch. Take it out of the box. Turn it on. Use it. That's the very near-term goal for the very-soon-to-be-always-connected future.

    After that it's really just a matter of authenticating as required to access whatever apps and resources the system surfaces.

    Aye: trustworthy authentication may be the last, major piece needed to really bust the info-age wide open.

  14. AnOldAmigaUser

    Considering some of the gaffes that Google has had with tracking in the K-12 market, would Microsoft be better off pushing Office365 for education as an option on Chromebooks? You cannot underestimate the technical ability of staff in the K-12 market; hardware needs to be drop dead simple to use. Windows/RT was not simple enough, and I do not think Windows 10S is either. Obviously, they would rather have the Windows seat as well, but half a slice, as they say.

    I think it is more important for Microsoft going forward to have their productivity tools and cloud services familiar to a new generation, rather than windows.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to AnOldAmigaUser:

      Chromebooks are used more in primary and secondary schools when what still matters more than how. Chromebooks can use Office web apps just fine, and those are more than adequate for primary school and all but the most advanced in secondary school.

      No need for Office 365 for Chrome OS, especially since that'd be Office 365 for Linux. (If Word, say, could run as a Chrome app under Chrome OS, it could run exactly the same as a Chrome app under Linux. Even if Word tried to check OS signatures, in the wonderful world of Linux open source, it'd be straightforward though not simple to pass a Chrome OS identifier from Linux to Word.) Unless MSFT wants to sell Office for Linux, don't hold your breath waiting for Office for Chrome OS.

  15. spacein_vader

    For those of us outside the USA what does K-12 mean?

    • ajgisler

      In reply to spacein_vader:

      K - 12 is the grades (years - UK) students go through in the US. Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2... Grade 12. Age of students is roughly from 5-18 years old.

    • Snowsky419

      In reply to spacein_vader:

      Kindergarten through Grade 12

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to spacein_vader:

      Presumably primary and secondary school, roughly 5-16 year olds give or take a year or two at either end.

    • Jack Smith

      In reply to spacein_vader:

      As others indicated K = Kindergarten which is 5 or 6 year olds. Some will hold up kids for Kindergarten until 6. More boys. Then 12 = 12th grade which you are when you are 18. We also call it a Senior in High School.

      My kids are all given Chromebooks starting in 5th grade that they use from 5th to 12th grade. Even AP CS 1 and 2 have moved from the Macs to using Chromebooks with Crouton.

      US is adopting something called 1:1 which is a laptop for each kid.

      BTW, huge fan of the Chromebooks and they are perfect for the kids school work. The schools also use all the Google K12 ecosystem so the school also runs on Google Classroom.

      They pass in their assignments online and have to use Google Docs as the plagiarism checkers are built into the workflow so they can not use Word unless they cut and paste from Word to Google Docs.

      More and more the school is also using Google K12 analytics which is super cool to see how teachers work better or worse by kid. This will be revolutionary in K12 education.

      K12 now running online will create incredible data for analytics.

  16. hrlngrv

    The rest of the world buys that many Android tablets (14.4% - 24.4% of shipments)? I can't believe they'd be phones. Actually, in more humid parts of the world without A/C, I could see tablets surviving longer than actual textbooks, so if they were mainly used as eTextbook readers they may make considerable sense. It'd be fascinating to see a comparison between Android tablets in schools vs ill-fated and even less considered use of iPads in schools.

    Now for the statistical weakness of this particular article. One quarter does NOT a trend make. Windows does dominate the education sector in the rest of the world, but up from 57.1% in 2017Q2 to 66.5% in 2017Q3 is not growth, especially not when 2016 and 2017Q1 are at essentially the same level as 2017Q3. All the graph shows is that (Surprise! /s) fewer devices ship during Q2, the calendar quarter when much of the far more populous northern hemisphere ends the school year.

    Since there was, in fact, no growth in a statistically meaningful sense, Windows 10 S didn't lead squat. Is there any breakout of the Windows figures in the graph above between Windows 10 S and Windows 10 Education? If not, given the 2017Q1 figure from before Windows 10 S's launch, why should anyone with a modicum of statistical sense conclude that the breakdown between Windows SKUs in 2017Q3 would be materially different from 2017Q1?

    This is a shoddily reasoned article.

  17. Stooks

    "The growth for Windows was likely led by the recent launch of Windows 10 S"

    Umm yeah...maybe. We would all love to see those real numbers but we never will.

    The growth is probably led by the fact that ChromeOS and Chromebook pretty much SUCK! My kid's schools use Windows 10, not S and two out of 3 of those kids use Google Doc's/Classroom/email. They have Photoshop classes and such which will never work on a Chromebook. The other kid's school is pure Microsoft, Windows/Office/OneDrive.

  18. skane2600

    Without sales figures any conclusions based on Windows 10 S adoption are just speculation.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to skane2600:

      Semantic pickiness: speculation implies some rational basis. This article engages in outright overoptimism, namely the unsupported belief that Windows 10 S has anything to do with the return to the mean in US and rest of World K-12 shipments in 2017Q3.

  19. VancouverNinja

    The beginning of the end for Chrome OS in K-12. Never made sense to train up children on a system they will never use when they leave school.

    • Skolvikings

      In reply to VancouverNinja:

      I disagree. The specific tool used is not really relevant to today's kids. Trust me, I could give my kids a device with an operating system they've never used before, and with zero training, they'd have it figured out very quickly.

      IMHO, the main concern for K-12 schools is getting devices in kids' hands. Whichever device has the best value (affordable cost, easiest to configure and maintain, etc.) is the device they should choose.

      • jrickel96

        In reply to Skolvikings:

        It is relevant because it requires retraining, including retraining at colleges. Chromebooks are barely used in colleges at all. Every single major school here in Florida (and we have five universities in the top 10 nationwide for student population) has indicated that students that come from schools using Chromebook or Gsuite start behind.

        It's equivalent to Apple's domination in education back 20 years or more ago. The difference is universities did use Apple as well. So it was the business side that had to retrain.

        It's good to get some devices in their hands, but better to get them something that will be closer to what they'll use to work. They do have that on the phone side of things, but a lot of the highest paying jobs require a PC. Want to work in a hospital or in medicine? Windows is the solution due to HIPAA. Lawyer? Windows again - and you use Office. Every pro sports team I work with uses Windows and MS Office and has to train college grads on them at times. Want to edit video or do compositing? Apple has lost A LOT of marketshare there, but you could conceivable use either - but you aren't using a Chromebook.

        I think that's why MS may success here long term. Schools are getting feedback that Chromebook does not cut it for business and higher ed. When they have to replace their Chromebooks, they now have less expensive and more easily managed Windows options.

        I think in two years we'll see large Windows gains in US classrooms and Chromebook will be a much smaller share and in severe decline. There are also some trend lines that indicate Chrome may be losing some marketshare. Edge on all platforms and the enhancements Mozilla has been making have the potential to put a dent in Chrome.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to jrickel96:

          Where do those Florida universities rank in terms of academics rather than body count?

          Re HIPPA, not a lot of Office used in most hospitals, diagnostic labs, medical practices. Instead, nearly everything is specialized. Meaning young adults gain zero relevant experience during college even using Windows PCs. That is, unless 'college' means a trade school where they receive instruction on those dedicated medical systems, but students wouldn't have that software on their own PCs.

          Re highest paying jobs, traders of financial products would be using highly specialized workstations, so again no relevant college experience. Engineering? FEM and circuit analysis do require more than Chromebooks provide in standard mode, but install crouton and Linux, and they have access to nearly all the nonproprietary engineering software they'd use on the job. You do have a point with respect to lawyers, but I figure most 1st year law students would have more trouble with legal writing than they may have had transitioning from Google Docs to Word in their freshman year in college.

          Any publicly available source for that assessment by Florida universities that high school graduates who had used Chromebooks enter college behind?

          However, you may be right. US higher education may have become so misguided that teaching how now matters more than teaching either what or why.

  20. VancouverNinja

    Chrome OS had a good ride off of the vacuum left by MS. Now its over, MS has everything in place and when you have to make a decision one offers an alternative and the other offers the best solution in all categories - Hardware and Software. Picking the second best for the same price makes zero sense. Then the kids leave and go to work on mostly Windows PCs.

    • Jack Smith

      In reply to VancouverNinja:

      "Chrome OS had a good ride off of the vacuum left by MS.  "

      Data does not seem to support this. Looking at the data we can see ChromeOS grew 33% YoY worldwide and Windows grew 3%.

      In the US ChromeOS has almost 60% share an all time high while Windows is down almost 10% from earlier in the year.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to VancouverNinja:

      Perhaps you don't realize that Chromebooks are mostly used in primary and secondary schools. The young adults leaving school upon completing secondary school either won't be using computers at work, won't be using Office (instead using telemarketers' scripts or dedicated industrial systems), or would only be performing what little data entry remains. Chromebooks are used much less in college/university.

      Nice red herring.

      • VancouverNinja

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        Can't agree with you there. Usually there are PC's at home that they will work on and parents also tend to buy their children laptops or the like for further education. No one scenario is it but the dominate use case scenario is a Windows based one - at this point there is no upside at the educational level to pick Chrome OS over a Windows based OS. MS has done a good job delivering what is needed for the K-12 market. I only see their market share ramping up and I also think MS is hitting this channel hard. Google has merely keeping the K-12 segment warm for MS. Sad but true.

        • Bats

          In reply to VancouverNinja:

          You do realize that PCs can be made into Chromebooks right? Why go thru the hassle of the Windows environment, when you can have peace of mind using an easy to use nonWindows machine?

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