Microsoft, Google and Apple have all been fighting to claim the education market, and, with Google’s affordable Chromebooks, Apple and Microsoft have been forced to try and reclaim some of the market that Google has eaten up over the past three years.
On Tuesday, Microsoft announced a new lower-priced Surface laptop and a special version of Windows 10 aimed directly at students called Windows 10S.
Microsoft’s new version of Windows, will also help teachers by limiting which apps students can download and locks their settings. Windows 10S will take a “walled garden” approach, perfected by Apple on iPhones and iPads, by allowing only apps from the Windows store to be downloaded.
Google’s Chromebooks have been extremely successful in schools. The Chromebooks run ChromeOS, google’s chrome-based operating system, and can cost as little as $199, which is even cheaper than Apple’s entry level iPad.
Google also makes the large task of managing an entire student body’s IT easier. “Google was so successful because they offered a simple means of managing and distributing technology,” said Christopher Voce, an analyst with Forrester. “A teacher could easily administer and control the apps that were on a Chromebook without much effort.”
In 2016, 12.6 million mobile PCs and tablets were shipped to grade schools in the U.S. — and Google’s Chromebooks made up 58% of those sales, according to Futuresource Consulting.
In March, Apple announced a new iPad that seemed pretty conventional. It didn’t add any flashy new features and wasn’t significantly more powerful than previous versions. However, it had a lower price tag, starting at $329, and was made for schools.
Apple, much like Google, also has an app, called Classroom, for managing multiple devices.