Microsoft Worried By Google Chromebooks’ Momentum in Schools

Attendees inspect the Google Chromebook Pixel laptop during the Google I/O developers conference

Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images

Critics of Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) line of Chromebooks argue that there’s no way the low-cost laptops can challenge the dominance of Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows laptops, but a recent milestone in Google’s education sales show that school administrators think otherwise.

During its earnings call and in a post on its Enterprise blog, Google announced that schools bought more than a million Chromebooks in the second-quarter of 2014. The small, low-cost laptops, which run Google’s Chrome operating system, number among the widening variety of options for educators and administrators seeking to get computers into classrooms.

In the Google post, Bridgeport Public Schools’ chief information officer  – and Educational Technology Guy blogger — David Andrade wrote about why his district chose Chromebooks, touching on two key benefits of the laptops: affordability and simplicity.

“I was a fan of the Chromebook right from the start because of their affordable price and ease of use … We could buy three Chromebooks for the price of a single desktop computer and the district’s small IT team wouldn’t have to struggle to keep up with the repairs and updates on aging PCs. We would also save on support time and costs since Chromebooks update automatically.”

Most of the school district’s students don’t have access to computers outside of school, and 95 percent of students receive free or reduced price lunches. Using the school district’s own modest budget, and later some grants as well, the district has purchased thousands of Chromebooks with the eventual goal of deploying them to every classroom in grades 4 through 12. “The Chromebooks have already changed how teachers teach and students learn: there’s less ‘listen-to-me’ lecturing, and more active student involvement in creating their own projects.”