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Should Apple Go for the Glory, or Hold On to Profits?
By: Christine Geraci
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The first computer I ever touched was an Apple II C in the computer lab of my elementary school in the late 1980s. As it was in many other schools at the time, the only computers in my school district's buildings were Apple computers. By the time I hit high school, that had changed: That building's computer labs were stocked with PCs running this new-fangled platform called "Windows 95." 
 
And now, it appears the same cycle could be repeating itself with tablet technology. On July 24, its third quarter earnings report revealed Apple had sold twice as many iPads as Macs for educational purposes. About 1 million iPads had been sold to schools, the iPad 2 being particularly popular because of its slightly cheaper price. 
 
Keep that last part about the iPad 2 in mind when you read the next paragraph.
 
In that same earnings report, Apple reported that profits increased from $7.31 billion to $8.8 billion. That number was about $1 million less than what analysts had been forecasting. But no matter: Apple is already the world's most valuable company. What's more, the profits it reports likely do not reflect the company's true net income because it sets aside billions for taxes. And apparently, experts say the company could easily skirt those tax obligations and boost their actual profit for the last three years by as much as $10.5 billion
 
Apple is a publicly traded company, beholden to shareholders. I get that. I don't begrudge the company for it. 
 
But I have to ask: Why is Apple holding on to so much profit when it could use some of it to make their products a little cheaper? 
 
I know the answer. I bet you do too: If people are willing to pay more for an Apple product, then of course Apple won't make its products cheaper. 
 
Still, I'm going to ask the question. And here's why:
 
Once again, Apple is pioneering a technology that schools everywhere are embracing. At the same time, schools are hurting financially. They will go for the cheaper option because they have to. It shows cash-strapped communities that schools are exercising restraint while still exposing children to innovative technology that engages them and helps them learn. 
 
It won't be long before more schools start looking much more seriously at Samsung Galaxy tablets, or Windows tablets, or [insert cheaper tablet here], even if they're cheaper by only a few bucks. Again, this isn't necessarily because schools want to, but because they have to. And regular consumers will soon follow. They're already starting to.  And thus, Apple will lose the glory of being able to say theirs was the first type of technology that millions of kids ever experienced.
 
I'm really hard-pressed to find a reason why Apple wouldn't want to hold on to the iPad's current dominance in the education sector — and possibly dominate in other sectors — by using a little profit to make the product a little cheaper. 
 
Can you think of any?


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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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