July 9, 2001: Apple is named the number one computer manufacturer in the education market, with twice as many computers in place in schools as runner-up Dell.
It’s a big turnaround from a couple of years earlier, when Dell Computer overtook Apple, and Steve Jobs was accused of abandoning this important market.
The numbers came from a report by Quality Education Data, which is sadly no longer online. (A news article recap is, however.)
There are plenty of metrics you can point to to pinpoint Apple’s turnaround in the late 1990s. There’s Steve Jobs returning to the company, the launch of the iMac, or Apple’s return to profitability. However, reclaiming the no. 1 position for education was also a big one. This is because it is a market Apple had long pursued.
A return to stability for Apple
It also showed a level of stability that Apple was once again enjoying. When Jobs returned to Apple, he was working with a company with plenty of problems. It was his role to prioritize problems, which he did by focusing on the consumer and professional markets.
For evidence of this, check out this 1998 interview between Jobs and a young, very inexperienced reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education, in which Jobs gets prickly about the declining number of Macs on college campuses.
By 2001, Jobs had his head above water, and was able to give more headspace to education. The following year, 2002, Apple launched the eMac — specifically targeted at schools — and achieved wide penetration on campuses.
Today, Tim Cook continues to follow Apple’s mission of pursuing the education market, particularly evidenced through its “Everyone Can Code” initiative.
Were you in education in the early 2000s? What was the availability of Apple computers in your school, college, or university? Let us know in the comments below.