Select Page

A school district is mandating that students’ parents buy them MacBooks. According to the article,

Superintendent James Hayes sees the technology as an essential move to prepare kids for the future.

Well, that makes sense- Macs are everywhere. I bet by the time they graduate, there will be nothing but Macs as far as the eye can see. Right.

Maybe someone should have mentioned to Mr. Hayes that despite Apple’s popularity, Macs account for only 8% of computer sales in the US. I think Mac news sites play on this a bit too much as good news- that’s less than 1 in 10! That means if there are 10 homes on your street and everyone goes out to buy a new computer this year, maybe 1 will get a Mac. 1. You can tell me how great his life will be compared to those other 9 all you want, guys. It’s still only 8% sales.

Or, even more relevant Mr. Hayes, why would this prepare kids for the future? Apple seems to think we won’t use computers for much longer. But even if we do, why would you go with the platform (Mac OS X) that has less than 6% market share? I don’t like Microsoft (I after all, root for the OS that has under 2% market share), but the fact is that most people in the business world will have to use a Windows PC. Maybe you’re lucky like me and have always had the professional flexibility to use what you wanted to as long as you got the job done. But most people will not have that luxury at least for now. But enough talk of Windows dominance- if Macs are such a small player, why did that school district choose them?

Money Talks

I’m sure they’re getting a pretty good deal- Apple has been know to really cut the price down on such large deployments. And I do not doubt that the computers will be great and that the software will too. But the easy answer as to why the school would go with Apple? Cost- if they force everyone to use the same thing, it cuts support right down to a phone call (which according to the article, Apple will handle) for any student. The teacher only has to know one system. The same instructions will work for each student. Each keyboard will be the same. They don’t have to worry about a handful of students that maybe are missing a certain port or feature and therefore can’t participate. The article even mentions that even kids that already have a MacBook will have to have it checked to make sure it’s new enough. It’s the same reason builders like to build a hundred homes that look almost exactly the same. It saves money.

So, in the end, the students will learn about business, because this is the kind of decision a business would make- to save on costs. It just turns out that most businesses don’t choose Macs.