May 2, 2017

Microsoft aims to take on Chrome OS in the classroom with Windows 10 S

Ina Fried, author of Login

Microsoft

Microsoft used a New York event Tuesday to launch a new salvo in the battle over classroom computing. It debuted a more constrained version of Windows, known as Windows 10 S, that focuses on new-style Windows apps and aims to some of the fast boot-up and easy maintenance that have made Chromebooks so popular in schools.

Why it matters: The school market, while highly price competitive, has long been strategically important as it serves as the introduction to a new generation of computer users. Those who use a Mac or iPad may grow up with a lifelong Apple affinity, while Chromebooks teach students they can get most of what they need from the cloud. It's just as important to Microsoft for Windows to have a healthy future.

The big limitation is that Windows 10 S only runs apps from the Windows Store, making the operating system somewhat reminiscent of Windows RT, a version of Windows 8 that was designed to run on the same type of processors used in cell phones. That proved unpopular, but Microsoft has grown the number of Windows Store apps significantly since then.

Microsoft also introduced a $999 Surface laptop that runs Windows 10 S but is fancier than most of the devices likely to run Windows 10 S. It's designed more for a high school student headed to college than the school they just graduated from. Windows 10 S laptops, which will begin showing up this summer, will start at $189, Microsoft said.

Here's a video Microsoft did showing off the new Surface laptop.

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