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Microsoft set for a busy summer targeting the education market

The firm's CEO has outlined plans to increase its presence in the classroom leaning on an educational version of Windows 10 and a Surface laptop

The summer is only a few months away and in the education world it is traditionally the busiest time of the year as empty classrooms get a makeover and new kit is installed before the students can get their hands on it.

It will be no different this year and one of the vendors that has made a push to make sure the channel is fully aware of its interest in the sector is Microsoft.

Speaking at a 'Learn what's next' event the firm's CEO Satya Nadella said that it wanted to use technology to help "democratise education" and wanted to get technology that could support learning and teaching into classrooms.

"The question is how can technology create more opportunities, not just for a few, but for all?" he asked. "We are under no illusion that technology alone is the answer to transforming is merely a tool to empower the creativity [of teachers, students and parents]."

He said that the future would involve more collaboration and team based learning and it had to help prepare children for that environment.  "We must bring the STEM curriculum alongside reading, writing and art to set students up for the future."

What that means in terms of products that the channel can sell it boils down to Windows and the arrival of the Surface laptop that is specifically designed for the education market.

There will be other hardware options also being pitched at the education buyer from Microsoft's partners including Acer, ASUS, Dell, Fujistu, HP, Samsung and Toshiba.

The arrival of Windows 10 S and the Surface laptop also provides Microsoft partners with an alternative option for those education customers that had been considering going down the Chrome OS route.

Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft, said that it had created Windows 10 S, which had been designed to be used in schools.

"It has been streamlined for simplicity and is secure," he added that the software would also run on Surface Books and "entry level hardware you will find in classrooms all over the world".

He said that its hardware partners were starting to roll out education devices that started at $189 running Windows 10 S and was also offering Office 365 and educational licenses of Minecraft. "All of it will be available this summer in time for the new school year."

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