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The world’s largest software maker Microsoft Corp. (MSFT - Analyst Report) announced that 10 K–12 school districts and higher-education institutions across the U.S. are deploying its OS Windows 8. Higher education institutions such as the Apollo Group, Atlanta Public Schools, Barry University, Fargo Public Schools, Fresno Unified School District and the Jackson-Madison County School among others have adopted Windows 8 OS.

Windows 8 is playing a major role in helping schools to upgrade learning tools by providing support for new education standards, online assessment and helping the switch to digital learning through a new platform for easy content creation and consumption.

Educational institutions are deploying Windows 8 for different purposes. The Atlanta Public Schools, Ga opted for the solution to provide its students access to their desktop, Office 365 Education and Office Web Apps from school or any offsite PC easily. The San Antonio Independent School District chose the solution to provide its 22,000 students access to Windows 8 tablets in its 33 libraries to encourage reading and communication among students.

Currently, just like other PC makers, Microsoft is also battling the slump in the PC market caused by the sluggish economy. To make matters worse, tablets continue to cannibalize its core PC market. Although Microsoft has launched its own mobile devices (both tablet and smartphone), it will have to deal with significant competition in these markets..

According to a report by IDC, Google’s Android OS shipments touched 497.1 million units in 2012, up 104.1% year over year. In the process, it captured 68.8% market share, followed by Apple’s (AAPL - Analyst Report)  iOS, which managed to hold on to an 18.8% share and Research In Motion’s (BBRY - Analyst Report) OS 4.5%. The Windows OS lagged far behind with a mere 2.5% share.

However, Microsoft’s growing clout in the academic and government verticals, as well as steady progress in the consumer hardware business bode well for longer-term growth.

Microsoft remains one of the best positioned software vendors, given its wide range of products, emerging markets strength, continued technology deployment at data centers and growth in cloud computing. We believe that Microsoft’s current investments are supported by its strong balance sheet and expect these to drive the next growth phase, improving prospects of market share gains.

Microsoft reported revenues, excluding deferrals, of $21.46 billion in the second quarter of fiscal 2013, up 34.0% sequentially and 2.7% from last year, in line with our estimates. All except the Entertainment & Devices segment grew both sequentially and from the year-ago quarter.

Microsoft has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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