Leader: Microsoft needs an 'A'

The battle is on for the consumers of the future
Written by silicon.com staff, Contributor

The battle is on for the consumers of the future

How will Microsoft's school report turn out?

The agency in charge of school IT, Becta, has announced it is to look at the benefits - and risks - involved for schools that sign up for Microsoft's educational licensing programmes.

And far from being just another bureaucratic paper-shuffling exercise, this review could actually have big implications for the future.

The private sector has already raised concerns about Microsoft's shift to subscription-based pricing, so it's perhaps no surprise the public sector wants to get a clear idea of what it's signing up for too.

The education market is a pretty big one, so any buying policy changes here could be significant, particularly for Microsoft's rivals.

As well as this year's and next year's revenues, there is a much longer game being played here - one that could take decades to win.

In short: if kids get comfortable with the Windows operating system and Office applications, then the majority are unlikely to want to search out anything else.

But if they are exposed to other office productivity applications - or other operating systems (ones that might have cute penguin mascots, for example) - then they may be more discerning about what they want on their PCs.

So just as Microsoft is fighting the rise of Linux around the world with stripped-down versions of its operating system, it could face new generations of computer-literate kids who aren't necessarily going to need (or want) Windows on their PC when they get to work.

And that knocks down another barrier which is holding back the adoption of rival offerings.

Microsoft will certainly be hoping it gets an 'A' when the interim report is published later this year.

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