Can Apple Succeed in School?

Our readers think it has no choice, though they're pretty evenly split on whether it needs cut prices to do so

Apple Computer must retain its 50% share of the education market at all costs -- and Mac aficionados won't blame the company if it significantly lowers the prices it charges schools in order to fend off the Microsoft juggernaut.

That's the verdict from the 650-plus people who responded to our May 8 Reader Survey.

Nearly 76% of those who responded feel that it's extremely important for the future of Apple that it preserve its 50% share of the education market. Some 42% of readers think that Apple will have to lower its prices to the level of Dell and other competitors in order to do so, while some 46% think it should be able to hold its market share while charging at least some premium.

A vast majority, some 87% of those who replied say they wouldn't be upset with Apple for selling Macs to schools for $300 to $600 less than it charges consumers. And 56% feel that students who use a Mac get a higher-quality education than students who use other types of PCs -- while 39% don't see a difference.

Some 36% of those who replied to this unscientific survey use a Mac predominantly, while 18% use a non-Apple PC -- and 45% use both.

Here are the complete details of the survey:

How important is it for Apple to maintain its 50% share of the education market?

Option Total %  
Extremely important 491 75.77 %
Moderately important 130 20.06 %
Not really important 21 3.24 %
No opinion 6 0.93 %

To maintain its market share in education, does Apple have to match competitors such as Dell on price -- or not?

Option Total %  
Must match competitors on price 273 42.06 %
Should be able to charge somewhat more than competitors 300 46.22 %
Should be able to charge significantly more than competitors 16 2.47 %
Must undercut competitors on price 48 7.40 %
No opinion 12 1.85 %

As an Apple customer, would you be upset to find that Apple is selling Macs to schools -- probably in volume -- for $300 to $600 less than it sells them to the general public?

Option Total %  
No 565 87.06 %
Yes 65 10.02 %
No opinion 19 2.93 %

When it comes to the quality of education a student receives, do you think it matters whether the student learns on a Mac rather than a PC?

Option Total %  
Yes 363 55.93 %
No 254 39.14 %
No opinion 32 4.93 %

What type of PC do you use?

Option Total %  
Mac 226 34.77 %
Non-Apple PC 129 19.85 %
Both 289 44.46 %
Other 6 0.92 %
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