Microsoft Developed Cheaper Surface 3 for Schools, Targeted Chromebooks Market

Microsoft plans to introduce an even cheaper Surface 3 model, which schools will be capable to purchase at a discount.

Microsoft softens up the pot for schools choice to implement its new hybrid tablet. They will be offering deals to schools. One is a 10% discount for those who buy Surface 3, Type Cover and stylus as a bundle. Above that, it is also providing a slightly cheaper unique Surface 3 model with 32GB storage capacity and 2GB memory. This deal is exclusively for educational institutions only.

It appears that Microsoft is trying to place the Surface 3 as an alternative to Google Chromebooks, which Google has marketed to schools and governments as Apple moves more and more toward premium devices. Microsoft cited data that showed that students benefited from handwriting as part of learning, apparently forgetting that pencil and paper work just as well as a digital tablet.

According to FutureSource Computing (as cited by Education Week) Chromebooks outpaced sales of Windows PCs to K-12 schools in 2014, 39 percent to 24 percent. In 2014, there were more than 3 million Chromebooks shipped. Chromebooks represented just 1 percent of U.S. K-12 sales in 2012, with iPads at 40 percent.

Microsoft’s basic Surface 3 has 64GB of flash-based MMC storage on board, we’d expect for a lower price for the new version. But Microsoft will still have its work cut out for it to compete with the new $150 Haier Chromebooks. Public schools always hardly have enough money to scrape by. Like the Los Angeles Unified School District’s recent decision to back away from a $1.3 billion contract to supply each student with an Apple iPad due to shortage of funds.

The recent launch of low-cost Chromebooks shows that Google executives made education their priority, including those made by Haier and HiSense. Haier plans its own Chromebook designed specifically for schools, complete with a spillproof keyboard.

“We think for example this will work really really well for schools. We have just started on the .EDU buying cycle—Q2, and Q3, when schools make most of their purchases. So we think that these will do really really well during the Chromebook cycle,” said Caesar Sengupta, the vice president of product management for Google, at the launch of the new wave of Chromebooks.

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