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Google Chromebooks conquer the K-12 market, swamping Apple and Microsoft
Over 50 percent of market share now goes to Google, whose cheap and reliable product leaves iPad behind. - photo by Eric Schulzke
Barely one year after the Los Angeles Unified School district canceled its controversial billion dollar contract with Apple to provide iPads to its schools, Apple has been eclipsed by the far cheaper Google Chromebook, which now holds over 50 percent of the K-12 market, NBC News reports.

"While it was clear that Chromebooks had made progress in education, this news is, frankly, shocking," Forrester analyst J.P. Gownder told NBC. "Chromebooks made incredibly quick inroads in just a couple of years, leaping over Microsoft and Apple with seeming ease."

Chromebooks, which run for below $200 a piece, often a third of the cost of an iPad, also have keyboards, which allow students more flexibility for use in writing assignments. Moreover, Chromebooks use software on the internet rather than programs that must be installed and purchased separately.

"The speed of Googles conquest is remarkable, considering that, in 2012, Chromebooks represented just 1 percent of the education-technology market share, compared with Apples 50-plus percent," Slate notes.

Buzzfeed notes that, while Apple continues to boast about holding 85 percent of the K-12 tablet market, the share of tablets compared to small laptops, i.e. Chromebooks, in U.S. classrooms has plummeted.

It seems like just yesterday that Apple signed a $1.3 billion agreement with Los Angeles Schools in partnership with Pearson publishing, which was supposed to provide educational software.

Last fall, LAUSD canceled that contract amidst a scandal that led the schools chief to resign and is now suing both Pearson and Apple requesting a refund. With the software, the units were to cost the school district nearly $1,000 a piece, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The mistake made by LAUSD, Wired suggests in an analysis, was a top down district-wide deal that focused on technology rather than on real classroom needs. In fact, the deal was so top down, that it appears that it was also an inside deal, with then LAUSD school superintendent John Deasy exchanging emails about how excited he was to work with Pearson and Apple a year before the bidding process actually began, according to emails analyzed by KPCC Radio.