The Wall Street Journal published an article titled “Chromebooks Take Other Mobile PCs to School” which cited estimates of laptop and tablet sales to U.S. K-12 schools.
This compares to data that was released from the NPD group late last year. The NPD group data was for PC (desktop and laptop) and tablet sales through “U.S. commercial channels” (sales through VAR that are mostly targeted towards education, government and corporations). I have previously commented on the NPD data on this blog (1, 2, 3).
The NPD Group data and following discussions pointed to the following;
- Chromebooks are mostly selling to education.
- Chromebooks are competing with iPads or expanding the market. They are not taking the market from Windows.
- The NPD data is for computers sold to schools through VARs, not to students. The computers are strictly the property of the schools and hence purchase is not an end-user decision. In Steve Jobs’ words, these are sales through “orifices”.
Here I would like to take a look at the FutureSource data that the WSJ cites to better understand the picture.
The FutureSource data seems to confirm the following;
- Chromebooks are indeed selling well to education.
- iPads are currently extremely strong in education. Much more so than Windows. It is understandable that the main battleground is iPad vs. Chromebooks and not Windows vs. Chromebooks.
Additionally, it seems that Android tablets are non-existent in schools.
As for the comments in the WSJ article that are in favor of the Chromebooks, they are interestingly from the school IT departments: the “orifices”.
One fan is Kyle Laauser, the information technology director at Saint Joseph Academy,
Explaining the purchase, Mr. Laauser pointed to the devices’ low price, $279 each including a $30 setup fee paid to Google, as well as the ease with which he could set them up for the entire student body.
All in all, the WSJ article seems to be in good agreement with the NPD data and the ensuing discussions.