According to a market report cited by Microsoft, Windows-based PCs and devices outsold the nearest competitor by over 2-to-1 in global K-12 education sales in 2015. But there are some important caveats.
Microsoft never mentions Chromebook—or iPad or Mac, for that matter–by name in a blog post discussing this success, but it’s pretty clear that the software giant is attempting to rebut recent Google successes in education. Note, however, that Chromebook has seen great success in the U.S. education market only, while it remains a curiosity elsewhere in the world.
By contrast, the report Microsoft cites is for worldwide education usage, and for the K-12 market only. A quote from the report—“Microsoft is the clear global market leader, reaching 47 percent of the mobile computer K-12 OS market in Q4 of 2015—further dilutes things down, to portable devices only. So the data is a bit hard to understand.
As is the source of the data: I’ve not heard of Futuresource or itsPersonal Computing in Schools Quarterly Market Track report, the most recent version of which was just issued. Microsoft says that this report “tracks sales of mobile computers (excluding desktops, but including notebooks, Chromebooks, netbooks and tablets.) into K-12 education. So that confirms the mobile-only bit.
“The education sector clearly provides a vast target market for vendors and component suppliers alike, with over 1.5 billion enrolled students and teachers across the world,” Futuresource explains. “Declining prices, increased product customisation, digitisation of education content and a growing trend toward government investment in ICT in education are all combining to develop significant market demand.”
Sure. For its part, Microsoft goes on to tout Windows 10 in education, and cites a handful of happy schools from around the world. But I’ll leave the marketing to the them, and assume that the claim that “Windows is the most popular global platform for education” is true as stated.