Apple vs Google vs Microsoft: the remote learning race

Darvin Hart

Dec 1, 2022

10 min read

Apple vs Google vs Microsoft. These three are like the contenders of a Triwizard competition. Now their latest target is the golden egg of remote learning.

Remote learning existed way before the pandemic took over. But the pandemic really altered the flow of learning and the competition took a big turn. To bridge the gap between teachers & students and also take over the education sector, a battle ensued among the trio. This blog gives a clear walkthrough of the different aspects & features that these three tech giants have to offer to schools.

The legendary trio

Why is it, that whenever anything happens,
It’s always you three?

Source: Giphy

Seriously, that’s the same question we all have in our minds. How come when anything, anywhere, anytime in the tech world is put into a tough situation, these three have always been the ones to come up with distinct solutions. As far as the education sector is involved, these tech giants have kept it one of their utmost priorities to give the best to both educators and their future consumers: youngsters. Each of these three is distinct in its way, from sleek device design to seamless performance.


Apple & education – have always been an inseparable combo, as Apple brings in the best technology for students. They focus more on inspiring creativity & helping students make the most out of their devices. Speaking about devices, Apple’s iPad is a pioneer in devices used for education, and the ecosystem & apps that Apple has to offer are cool & consistent to use.


Google has been competing to take over the education sector. It has given tough competition to Apple iPads with the Chromebooks which are much more affordable and serves the purpose. Not only device-wise but also app-wise and tool-wise, Google has loads to offer. Google’s inexpensive, easy-to-manage devices and educational tools like G Suite and Classroom have helped it to capture the market and students in education.


Microsoft is nothing less compared to both of its competitors. Its devices are found in almost every household from all over the globe due to its cost-effectiveness and user-friendly ecosystem. Microsoft tools are used by almost every student across the globe.

The 7 departments of the Ministry of remote learning

Technology & education, both the fields are subjected to change regularly. For any technology to reach near immortality in this highly competitive education sector, it has to focus on not one or two but many prime factors. In this race of Google vs Apple vs Microsoft, the following factors are considered crucial to drive their tech, in turn, to take over the field.

1. Design & UI

Offline teaching is way more different than remote learning, in terms of the learning environment & approach. Traditional classroom setups are designed to provide students with a lively and interactive learning environment.

But remote learning at home is entirely different. As the home setup cannot be changed, these tech giants focus on making the design of their products as well as the UI of the apps vibrant & lively enough to capture students’ attention & regain their focus on learning.

The trio considers the following three factors in their design & UI: Consistency, Clarity & Assistance.

Apple is known for its seamless design & lag-free UI which makes the iPad the most loved device for educational purposes all over the world. iPad in conjunction with Apple pencil & related learning apps gives students an ocean of opportunities to learn & create more. Macs have been in the education sector for almost three decades now, giving students access to numerous productive tools to carry out assignments & projects.

Google on the other hand is taking over the desks of students by providing them with an equally powerful device at a lower price point. Ever since the release of Chromebooks, it has been a highly popular device in the education domain for their minimalistic & direct approach towards serving the purpose. Chromebooks work well in conjunction with google apps too.

Microsoft has an army of PCs with different designs matching the needs of the users. When it comes to schools, Microsoft laptops have been a game changer forever. They can run the tools needed for learning without much of a hassle. Moreover, the sturdy & durable design it provides makes it an all-time favorite.

2. Hardware & cost-effectiveness

Bringing more to the course without any loss to the source.

Mostly schools don’t require advanced or fancy devices. Also not every student can afford to buy a high-end device for learning purposes. Hence, cost is a major factor that these tech giants consider as they compete to provide the best at competitive prices.

Apple’s primary hardware gear in this race is its iPad which is sold at a comparatively lesser price for schools. Google Chromebooks and Microsoft’s fleet of PCs & tablets for education are no less compared to Apple. Since, multiple vendors manufacture these devices, they come in different configurations matching student needs. Also the price points are much affordable. Microsoft also has touch- and pen-compatible tablets, but generally speaking, laptops are the top gear.

3. OS versatility

Oh yes, this is the perfect OS.

To say these words, OS considerations should be taken seriously. Usually, people don’t give much attention to OS considering the student level needs. But it’s important to choose the best based on what this trio has to offer.

Apple offers very powerful, very capable computers. They have massive advantages over their two competitors. iPadOS, iOS & even macOS offer good quality apps and user experience as a whole which makes Apple a strong choice if cost is not your concern. The shared iPad concept that allows for multiuser support for schools is a game-changer.

Against the Apple ecosystem, ChromeOS has a more powerful, desktop-class browser, real windowing, and more hardware options. It also has easier software management and better performance at cheaper price points. The only major disadvantage with ChromeOS is that Android apps running on big screens look a bit cluttered (which is expected to be rectified in the next big update).

Comparing what Apple & Google has to offer, Microsoft just has the most powerful operating system that can run on cheap hardware. From PCs and notebooks to tablets, the OS performs seamlessly. Keep in mind there is a catch regarding the apps that run on the same. When it comes to the apps, not everything is peachy.

4. Applications

Apps play a vital role in this Apple vs Google vs Microsoft race. The trio can’t just settle down after upgrading the hardware and operating system regularly. They have to come up with distinct apps from time to time to match the knowledge sharing done in classrooms and more.

Apple has its very own set of apps specially designed for iOS, iPadOS & macOS devices. Each of these apps provides numerous ways for students to create, learn & explore. Apple’s schoolwork app makes it easy for schools to have complete management of learning materials & student concerns without much of a hassle.

Google with its suite of apps for learning takes education to another level. These apps in conjunction with chromeOS work effectively.

  • Gmail & Google Chat facilitates communication between students and teachers.
  • Google Docs & Slides help students create assignments online.
  • Drive helps to save their work online.
  • Forms to conduct quizzes and assessments.

When it comes to Microsoft, no school student can say that they have never got exposed to the set of apps offered by Microsoft Office. From Microsoft Word to Microsoft Excel, these applications have always been the savior of students during their academic deadlines.


5. Conferencing tools

Discipline & decorum comes first in any educational system. It’s really hard to achieve that when students are attending online classes in the comfort of their homes. Though it’s hard for the teacher to get satisfied not knowing if all students can grasp the lessons, today’s video conferencing platforms make it possible. It helps the students to connect and comprehend with their teachers & classmates making way for an interactive virtual classroom.

Apple’s group Facetime, Google meet & Microsoft Teams offer a wide range of features distinct to them to provide an interactive video conferencing platform for schools.

6. Cloud storage

No more backpacks, just carry backups.

Heavy bags loaded with books are replaced by one device. So why carry storage disks and drives when students can just upload their work to the cloud. Cloud storage is the heart of the apps & files that run the remote learning race. Each of the three competitors provides its very own cloud storage service plans.

Apple’s iCloud & Microsoft’s OneDrive provide 5GB of free cloud storage, while Google One provides 15GB of free cloud storage. Exceeding this limit students can get more cloud storage space at discounted prices.

7. Learning platforms

The genie always says one thing, your wish is my command.

Source: Giphy

The three technological genies also follow the same motto. The centralized learning platforms are the greatest gifts this trio have given to remote learning. It is a tremendous boon for educators to be able to control all aspects of remote learning from a single location, thanks to learning platforms like Google Classroom, Apple Classroom, Apple School Manager, and Microsoft Teams for Education.

Google Classroom is a learning & teaching management system offered by Google to manage tools, provide access to files and streamline assignments to students, and grade accordingly.

Apple’s Classroom is an iPadOS app that is similar to Google Classroom. It helps teachers to assign activities to students and track their performance & activities. Apple School Manager (ASM) on other hand is used in conjunction with an MDM provider like Hexnode to deploy & manage Apple devices in bulk. It is really helpful in schools to have deeper control over students’ devices like deploying apps & books to a large fleet of devices in a streamlined manner.

Microsoft Teams for Education is also an all-in-one-place platform that makes handling groups & assigning activities to student groups easy. It comes up with powerful communication & collaboration tools that ease every remote learning process. Since Microsoft Teams is built on Office 365, schools can easily access Office apps & services via Teams.


Matching the gap between physical & virtual classrooms led to the rise of this remote learning race. The finishing line of this race is far beyond reach as new challenges are thrown their way every other day. Though the Apple vs Google vs Microsoft race is never-ending, they continue to provide design and approach breakthroughs. Amidst the discussion of what this trio has to offer, if you are sure about your needs and fixed one among the trio, make your next stop at Hexnode to manage your fleet of devices.


Darvin Hart

Poems, pictures & stories, this is me. Exploring the tech world as it needs to be.

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