November 18th 2002
By Mike Flaminio
Apple still comprises 33% of the total installed base in education, according to a report by Quality Education Data, Inc. (QED), Scolastic reports.
While Dell and Apple's other PC competitors have made much of Apple's allegedly declining sales in education, Dell trails Apple by almost 50%, with 18% of the installed base. However, new Dell purchases have increased. Dell is also cited as the brand school districts "plan to purchase" for 2002-2003.
In the 'plan to purchase' survey, Dell prospective purchases totalled 35% of those polled, while Apple pulled in 21% of the vote.
Of related interest, 43% of districts surveyed reported wireless installations, with 9% of districts stating they intended to purchase wireless PCs during 2002/2003. Over 72% of all wireless purchases will be laptops, according to survey results.
Analysis: Education is a critical market for Apple. While these numbers provide some comfort, they do not leave room for complacency. Simple arithmetic tells us that Macs might gradually be displaced by PCs if they do not maintain a strong share of the educaiton market. This has a number of direct and indirect effects. First, it means Mac-only or Mac/PC techs remain in positions which enable them to continue purchasing and maintaining Macs. Second, it means Mac hardware, software and network support remains in place.
If, on the other hand, schools start tp phase out Mac support due to declining numbers of machines, this results in a snowball effect, where Macs have less support and there are fewer incentives for holding onto them or replacing them. If nothing else, this points to Apple's need to get PowerSchool's house in order, even if PowerSchool only (maybe) indirectly helps sell Macs.