Kano, a British educational startup, has raised about $45.5 million from investors including Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff. Microsoft has invested more than $1 million in the company. Through the deal, Kano hopes to compete with Google in the EdTech market.
The deal will allow Kano to join the ranks of major IT players such as Lenovo and Dell to license Microsoft’s original equipment manufacturer, CNBC writes. That means Kano will be able to ship its PCs to schools on Windows 10 Pro, Microsoft’s premium version of the operating system.
Kano received a tender from the Japanese government to sell 3 million units in the country and is in talks to sell thousands of units in the UAE. The company’s PCs cost $299: It’s cheaper than Microsoft’s Surface Go tablets and less expensive than some Google Chromebooks.
The demand for educational technology increased significantly during the pandemic. The restrictions led to school closures in 190 countries, affecting 90 percent of students. The global PC market began to grow after the worst sales decline since 2013. Worldwide PC shipments rose 2.8 percent in Q2 due to increased demand for laptops and tablets, according to Gartner.
Kano CEO Alex Klein expects the partnership with Microsoft will help the company compete with Google in the multibillion-dollar EdTech market. Google’s Chromebook has remained the top-selling computer in U.S. schools for several years.
In 2018, Chromebooks accounted for 60 percent of all laptops and tablets in schools. In 2012, their share was less than 5%, according to Futuresource, a consulting firm. Microsoft accounted for 22% of the market in 2018, while Apple accounted for 18%.