August 28, 1997

Edited by Douglas Harbrecht


Bring money and clean sheets -- but not Apple Macintoshes. That's the advice Yale University is giving its incoming class of 1,310 freshmen. In an open letter to the frosh, Information Technology Services head Daniel Updegrove says students buying new computers are "strongly encouraged to select a Windows PC." The letter warns potential Apple-buyers that the school "cannot guarantee support for Macintoshes beyond June 2000."

Why is Yale -- where 25% of last year's freshmen owned an Apple -- losing faith in Apple? As Updegrove explains it, Macs are becoming increasingly incompatible with the school's brawny administrative software. The third-party code-writers developing new library, class scheduling, and grade-reporting systems are focusing almost exclusively on Windows. Adapting them for the Macintosh, says Updegrove, is becoming "an afterthought" for the school's computer programmers.

Yale's advice is bad news for Apple. Education is one of the two areas -- along with graphics -- in which the Cupertino (Calif.) company is staking its future. According to Dataquest research, Apple is still the leading choice for America's schools, where it commands 28% of the total market segment (including higher education). Yet its educational sales slipped 6% in the second quarter. By comparison, market share for Dell Computer's Windows-based PCs has jumped from 9.6% to its current 11.3%.

What's more, even Mac-happy campuses are slowly opening up their ranks to the Windows world. Dartmouth College, which has used Macintoshes exclusively since 1983, has for the first time hired a Windows specialist to answer student questions. Says Michael Gartenberg, reserch director at the Gartner Group: "Apple isn't down and out in education, but it's going to have to fight to protect that market."

By Dennis Berman in New York

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