Apple's Core Market Is Under Attack!

Is Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) about to lose its luster as the electronics supplier of choice for schools? Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) would like to think so. The search king says Chromebooks have become a popular PC and Mac alternative for the nation's school systems.

Google now says that more than 500 districts in the U.S. and Europe actively use Chromebooks to aid in classroom learning. In one particular case, Leyden High School District in Illinois is in the process of providing Chromebooks to its more than 3,500 students.

All of which is to say, if the war between Apple and Google hadn't yet reached a fever pitch, it's about to. Education has long been one of the Mac maker's vertical market strongholds.

Apple's response needs to be swift and decisive, for Google is doing all it can to make Web-based computing more useful for students. At this week's International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference, the search king introduced new grade-specific application packs and enhanced controls for helping administrators curate a selection of apps for their school's specific needs. Think of it as mass customization delivered to every Chromebook at the click of a button.

Source: Google.

"While the Web was developed well before today's students were born, it's come a long way even since a year ago," product manager Vidya Nagarajan wrote in a blog post. "Today you can access the Web on any device, use the Web offline, and take advantage of amazing graphics. For example, you can get a powerful graphing calculator on the Web today, for free."

"Any device" as in: You don't need a Mac.

Google's right. Our children attend a school that depends on a free edition of its Apps suite. The hitch? Our eldest, like his father, is addicted to Mac gear. He's perfectly happy using Google's Web apps with his collection of iDevices, most of which he's bought with his own money.

The big losers here are Adobe (Nasdaq: ADBE  ) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , which make their living developing install-and-manage software that users either download or purchase in shrinkwrapped boxes. That's fine for now, but it won't be in 10 years. An entire generation of kids is growing up believing that software is just an app that runs in a browser.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home, portfolio holdings, and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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Read/Post Comments (8) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2012, at 12:25 AM, IraLA wrote:

    So the danger to Apple is free stuff, subsidized stuff? And the apps run iStuff?

    What's the business plan, make it up on quantity?

    I wouldn't anticipate many sleepless nights in Cupertino.

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2012, at 12:37 AM, techy46 wrote:

    Google rules with advertising virus and software socialism.

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2012, at 1:51 AM, AdamChew wrote:

    Looks like this FOOL site is getting increasingly desperate in getting hits by generating hitwhore headlines.

    Yes this FOOL site is getting more desperate than Apple.

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2012, at 2:20 AM, 1brayden wrote:

    If they want to give the stuff away I'll take a couple of dozen. Sort of like Samsung giving away their tablets at a developers conference.... so who is desperate?

    The problem seems to be that my kids only want the Apple products. That's their preference and as consumers they will ultimately decide. If the schools want to by a bunch of computers and use them in the classrooms, that's their business, and has been the practice all along (albeit on a smaller basis) but I really don't see the advantage.

    I don't think Apple needs to be worried about every little movement in the marketplace.

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2012, at 1:37 PM, Borbality wrote:

    "Apple's Core Market" sure is a bit of a stretch

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2012, at 1:48 PM, Appleteacher wrote:

    I work at a uni in the UAE . ALL are starting with iPad come September ... 10000 students ... Plus instructors ... Google is too late ...

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2012, at 6:35 PM, bretco wrote:

    Copy doesn't really make a lot of sense.

    A lot of people at Fool Headquarters seem to strongly disagree with this 'theory'.

    Perhaps you are only a small'f' fool.

    Apple vs. Google....let the games begin.

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2012, at 12:51 AM, rfaramir wrote:

    rec for this sub-header: "Cloudy with a chance of billions"

    That and your eldest spending his own money on Apple gear, as does my daughter.

    (Long AAPL)

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