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Washington Post (March 14, 1997) -By Rajiv Chandrasekeran

By: Mike Lorion 

The Washington Post ran a trash piece about how Apple was doomed in the Education Market. Apple responds. I think you will find it enlightening on how many errors an author will "accidentally" make to achieve the spin he desires!

Is School out for Apple?

Apples Response -

March 27, 1997

Dear Editor:

Rajiv Chandrasekaran's 3/14/97 article, titled, "Is School Out For Apple?" leaves readers with the false impression that schools have abandoned the Macintosh for Windows computers. We wish to set the record straight and pose a few questions of our own.

First, there are 30 middle schools in Montgomery County; 29 of those schools use Macintoshes exclusively. Our question: How is it that Mr. Chandrasekaran chose to cite the one middle school that purchased Windows systems?

Second, he conducted a 20-minute interview with Deeva Garel, the director of Network services for the county, yet he failed to include any of her remarks. That is unfortunate because, according to Ms. Garel, she told him:

- The school district uses Macintoshes in elementary and middle schools because it has the best instructional and multimedia software (the district's core criteria for deciding which systems to buy);

- Macintoshes are used in specific curriculum areas in the county's high schools; and

- Apple has provided excellent service, support and training to the county's schools.

Our question: Are these not relevant points to bring out in the story?

Third, in an attempt to support his thesis, Mr. Chandrasekaran presents an incomplete reference to a report from International Data Corp. (IDC) that measured computer purchase plans among schools and districts for the 1996-97 school year. The report showed that 55% of the schools surveyed intend to purchase Windows systems this year, whereas 56 percent of districts plan to purchase Macintoshes.

Question: Since districts control 75% of Hardware purchases, shouldn't Mr. Chandrasekaran have mentioned that schools may not be the most reliable predictor of intent-to-purchase plans?

Moreover, in focusing on the report BCs forecasts, Mr. Chandrasekaran neglected to report the actual numbers of computers installed in K-12 institutions today. A few facts:

- Apple remains the leading computer brand used in K-12 schools, with 60 percent market share among public schools. Apple-branded systems account for 4.2 million of the 7 million computers in schools today.

- The number of Macintosh units in schools continues to increase, growing by 5 share points last year alone.

Our question: Doesn't balanced reporting demand including both?

Fourth, he states that Apple's current share of the education market is 58 percent, according to QED. Admittedly this is down slightly from year's past. Our question, however, is whether Mr. Chandrasekaran is seriously suggesting that serving nearly three-fifths of any market is a weak position?

Further, Mr. Chandrasekaran describes the Wintel share of the market as 39 percent, yet this is a mix of Apples and oranges. The Wintel numbers are an aggregate of ALL PC companies' sales into education.

Fifth, he paraphrases an unnamed group of analysts and educators as questioning Apple's ability to give teachers what they need after our recent reorganization. No education people in the Washington area were affected by layoffs; the local team dedicated to serving Maryland, Washington and Northern Virginia totals 16 people. Moreover, our first quarter K-12 sales for this region were up 20 percent in unit volume and 15 percent in dollar volume from last year.

Additionally, I personally told Mr. Chandrasekaran how we are changing the educational technology landscape with the eMate 300, and also emphasized that the reorganization will allow us to focus even more on education as a strategic market.

Our question: Does this sound like a company unable to support the education market?

Finally, let's not forget the children. There is a reason that education has stood by Apple and its products for 20 years: the learning experience for children. With all due respect to one principal quoted in the article, we believe what children learn about computers is not nearly so important as what they learn by using the computer as a knowledge resource. Time and time and time again, the Macintosh's intuitive interface is heralded because it lets children concentrate on creating, exploring and learning -- not on figuring out how to use the computer.

Though he may not have intended, Mr. Chandrasekaran's exclusion of relevant facts and apparent cursory analysis impugns Apple's corporate reputation in a highly valued and strategic market.


Mike Lorion
Vice President, North American Education Division
Apple Computer, Inc.
(408) 974-7040

Created: 03/27/97
Updated: 11/09/02

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