[Marxism] Steve Jobs: Government Entrepreneur, Response #1

Duane Roberts duaneroberts92804 at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 10 22:20:40 MDT 2011

Rod Holt wrote:

> Some school teachers did write many interesting
> programs for the Apple II. And I still run across
> people who as students vividly remember working on
> the Apple II. I have no data on how many systems
> were shipped to school districts and I would certainly
> appreciate comrade Duane sending me some numbers.
> My recollection is that the numbers were less than
> 5 percent of sales, but I’m willing to be educated.

I doubt your 5% estimate is accurate especially since the
New York Times, Education Week, Infoworld, and other
establishment press have reported for many years that
Apple dominated the market for computers sold to
taxpayer-subsidized K-12 public schools.

I fully understand newspaper articles aren't always
accurate, but I find it difficult to believe the 1995 New
York Times article I've posted at the end of this message
was disseminating inaccurate numbers about Apple's share
of the "education market" at the time.

Although I realize the Times article addresses sales
that occurred after you left Apple, it seems to me the
strategy to create demand for the firm's products by
aggressively marketing them to public schools occured
sometime before Jobs was fired from his post in 1985.

But it does present an interesting statistic relevant
to you: it publishes an estimate that Apple II computers
represented about 37.5% of all computers installed in public
schools in 1995. If true, that's not small potatoes especially
since the line had been discontinued years earlier.


Duane J. Roberts
duaneroberts92804 at yahoo.com

Anaheim, California


The New York Times

Apple Holds School Market, Despite Decline


Published: September 11, 1995

At a time when Apple Computer Inc. is facing sharp attacks on 
many fronts, the maverick company is maintaining a secure 
foothold in one crucial arena: the $4 billion market for 
computer equipment and software in public schools.

In an annual survey of public schools being released this 
month to coincide with the start of the school year,
Apple's share of computer sales to elementary and high schools
was expected to climb from 46 percent of all educational computers 
bought last year to 58 percent of the total being bought in 
the 1995-96 school year.

This is happening despite widespread concern that Apple's 
overall sales will suffer a devastating blow from the arrival
of Microsoft's Windows 95 software for I.B.M. and 
I.B.M.-compatible computers, a surge in development of 
competitive multimedia computers and the continuing problem of 
shrinking profit margins. Maintaining a strong position in 
profitable niche markets like education and desktop publishing 
could go a long way to quiet Apple's naysayers.

The schools market is sizable: in the 1994-95 school year, the 
nation's public schools bought nearly a million personal 
computers, spending roughly $2.5 billion on machines, 
printers, communications devices and other hardware. Besides 
the dollar amount, Apple hopes to win the loyalty of children 
who might grow into future customers, much as the company is 
doing in the college world.

According to the survey, conducted by Quality Education Data, 
or Q.E.D., an education market research firm based in Denver, 
the share of Macintosh sales to elementary and secondary 
schools jumped sharply in the last school year, while such 
sales of I.B.M. and I.B.M.-compatible PC's fell. This was in 
sharp contrast to the market for business and consumer 
computers, in which the Macintosh has rapidly lost ground.

"Apple's longtime courting of the school market has paid off 
in strong brand loyalty," said Jeanne Hayes, president of 
Q.E.D., which says it surveyed 80 percent of the nation's 
public elementary and secondary schools for the report. 
"Special pricing, strong service and support and habit have 
made the K-12 market an unusually loyal Apple niche."

The public school district in Hampton, Va., for example, has 
4,000 Macintoshes, all linked on one gigantic network. "We've 
had Apples for seven or eight years now and see no reason to 
change," said Dr. Charles Stallard, director of information 
services and technology for the Hampton schools.

Yet even Ms. Hayes of Q.E.D. concedes that the Macintosh's 
fantastic growth in sales to schools last year will not 
necessarily last, but she predicts that Apple will remain the 
top seller in that market.

The Macintosh's success in selling to schools is driven by the 
introduction of lower-priced Macs using the Power PC chip, and 
by the ability of new versions to run software written for 
either the Macintosh or the PC. But in Apple's view, its 
success in the schools' market has as much to do with an 
understanding of teaching as with technology.

"What the education market is buying is not an operating 
system but a learning tool," James Groff, vice president of 
worldwide marketing for Apple Education, said. Mr. Groff said 
educators appreciate Apple's long-term commitment to the 
market and to the development of innovative "bundling," in 
which a Macintosh is sold together with educational software 
and teaching guides.

Apple has always been the dominant seller of computers to 
schools, and its Apple II line, discontinued in 1990, still 
accounts for 37.5 percent of all computers installed in 
schools, the survey showed. The Macintosh, according to 
Q.E.D., accounts for 20 percent.

Elementary schools in particular continue to use Apple II's, 
even acquiring used ones, because of the sizable investment in 
software that runs on them, Ms. Hayes said. While schools are 
gradually abandoning the Apple II, the transition has been 
slow. Businesses tend to replace computer equipment every year 
and a half to three years, but schools hold onto equipment for 
three to five years and sometimes much longer.

Because "schools tend to use computers for a long, long time," 
Mr. Groff said, the Apple II "is not dwindling very fast."

For the last years, Apple's share of the total number of 
computers used in schools had been in decline, from a high of 
65.6 percent in 1990-92 to roughly 57.4 percent last year, 
according to Q.E.D.'s data. And many competitors and industry 
analysts argue that Q.E.D.'s conclusion that Apple's share of 
school sales are now rising is wrong.

Alicia Goodwin, director of education markets for the Compaq 
Computer Corporation, said the Macintosh's market share in 
schools has continued to decline, and that the arrival of 
Windows 95 will lead to an even greater shift. Compaq began 
selling to schools in February 1994, and said it now has 
roughly 4 percent of the market. The company expects to gain a 
few percentage points this year.

Many high schools in particular are buying Compaqs and other 
PC's running Windows 95, rather than Macintoshes, to prepare 
students better for jobs in business, where PC's running 
Windows outsell Macintoshes 10 to 1, Ms. Goodwin said. 
"Parents are more in tune with schools that have PC's running 
Windows, since that's what they use in the workplace," she 

Anne Wujcik, a market researcher and consultant in educational 
technology in Alexandria, Va., conceded that Windows 95 is
likely to hurt the Macintosh in education for many of the same 
reasons. "I don't see it shifting so dramatically right now, 
but it will as parents and schools realize they can't be so
different from the business world," she said.

Still, she expects schools to adopt the new operating system 
more slowly than other market segments. "They'd have to 
upgrade all their applications," she said. "The schools 
absolutely hate that."

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