Apple and Google's Underutilized Higher Ed Power

Missing voices in the discussions about the future of higher education.

June 19, 2013

What does the leadership at Apple and at Google think about higher education?

Who at Apple and Google is in charge of higher ed strategy? Do these people have have a strong voice on the product and services side?

Is higher ed part combined with K-12, or does postsecondary education have its own champion?

Apple has disrupted music, Google has disrupted publishing, is there any desire to disrupt higher ed?

Google has leveraged a business model built on search advertising and scale to radically drive down the cost of information.  Can that business model extend to education?

Apple has changed how we think if the interaction between hardware (especially mobile devices) and software, building ecosystems that facilitate an elegant and seamless experience.  Can that same aesthetic and expertise integrating hardware and software be translated to education?

Google and Apple have an incredible opportunity to participate, and maybe even help drive, what comes next in higher education.   

Google and Apple enjoy the power to influence how people think.  

Ideas are more powerful than software or hardware.  

Both companies can bring together educators with designers, developers, technologists, big data specialists, user interface experts, and operations experts.  This power to convene is rare in the education world.  

Google or Apple can hold a conference or a a gathering or a meeting and we will attend.    

Google or Apple can push an initiative or new idea and we will pay attention.   

Google and Apple can afford to make big, long-term transformational bets.

Google and Apple have the brand power and status to get the attention of our senior leadership, attention that can catalyze collaboration.

Deciding that changing higher education is a core company strategic priority should be based on a firm business calculus.   

Education will be the business of the 21st century.   The growth potential for post-secondary education in the fast growing economies of Asia, South America, and Africa will dwarf other information sectors.    

Traditional, government provisioned, campus based and bundled higher education systems will prove radically inadequate to meet the coming demand for post-secondary education services in the world's rapidly emerging economies.

Apple and Google have an opportunity to develop core competencies, relationships, and long-term expertise in the post-secondary sector at the beginning of this global transformation.

This window of higher ed power will not last long for Apple or Google.  At some point some other company (Microsoft, Amazon, TATA, Samsung, China Mobile - who knows?) will put global post-secondary education amongst its most important long-term strategic priorities.

How can we engage Apple and Google in this conversation?


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