Microsoft Education unveils four new laptops starting at $189

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The units, from Lenovo and JP, a manufacturer in emerging markets, range between $189 and $299. It has revealed the new machines at the annual Bett education show in London. Apple has always been Microsoft's competitor in the educational sector, and now the company must also do battle with Google's Chromebook platform in the classroom. But in their new announcement, they also acknowledged that price point weighs heavily on many school buyers.

Now, Microsoft is striking back against Google's domestic dominance, with a series of announcements created to make Windows PCs, Microsoft Office 365, and even the Minecraft video game sensation more appealing for education customers at home and overseas. It's now stepping up its stance against Google by focusing on how Windows hardware and software can improve education experiences.

While it may seem a little early to think about the back-to-school season-at least for students and parents in the Northern Hemisphere where classes generally start back up in September-educators are just now beginning to evaluate their technology options and plot out their strategies for the start of the next school year, said Eran Megiddo, corporate vice president of OneNote, Wunderlist and Education at Microsoft.

Microsoft is making a play against the classroom-famous Chromebooks.

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Without sacrificing the tech features that appeal to schools, Microsoft can compete on price, Salcito argued."We've been focused on solving that, while providing all of the richness that Windows has and continues to offer schools".

Microsoft will also supply Office 365 for Education free for teachers in 146 countries around the world. The companies say the move will give teachers broader classroom management tools within Office 365.

Microsoft's Minecraft game is hugely popular with kids and students. Examples include dications in Office 365, to help students write more easily via voice, and an expanded immersive reader feature for Word for Mac, iPhone, Outlook Desktop, OneNote iPad and OneNote Mac.

The tech company is also working with PBS, NASA, the BBC and LEGO for a variety of STEM learning and mixed reality projects. But in the U.S., Chrome OS is continuing to outpace Windows in the K-12 education arena, according to the latest data from Futuresource Consulting. Though Google has mostly operated without competition in this niche thus far, Microsoft is looking to change that.