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Microsoft on Tuesday launched a major effort to bulldoze its way into the educational computing space carved out by Google, with the introduction of a streamlined operating system called “Windows 10 S,” a range of new collaborative programs for K-12 schools, and two new Surface laptops aimed at the college student market.

The Surface laptop runs on the Windows 10 S operating system, featuring an Intel Core 7th generation processor, 14.5 hours of battery life, a 13.5 inch PixelSense display, optically bonded Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and a keyboard covered in Alcantara material. The Surface is available in four colors: platinum, graphite gold, cobalt blue and burgundy. It will sell for US$999.

Microsoft has begun taking preorders for the Surface laptop, which will be available June 15 in 20 countries, including the U.S. and the UK. The Surface will be available online at the Microsoft Store and at BestBuy.com. The laptop will be available in Canada and China later this year.

Microsoft will make Windows 10 S PCs available to students and teachers starting at $189 and bundled with a free one-year subscription to Minecraft: Education Edition; Windows 10 S will be free for schools with Windows Pro PCs. It will offer a free trial of Microsoft Intune for Education, free Office 365 for Education with Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft 365 for education.

Late to the Party

Microsoft’s product launch comes late in the game. Apple initially carved out a niche in education, and Google made its Chromebook devices a centerpiece of its effort to loosen Apple’s grip. Microsoft appears confident there’s room for one more, however, and it aims to help schools use Windows 10 and Surface to prepare students for the collaborative workforce of the future.

“We are under no illusion that technology alone is the answer to transforming education,” CEO Satya Nadella told attendees at the Microsoft Education event in New York City, noting that dedicated administrators, great teachers, motivated students and involved parents are at the forefront of building a great education system. “Technology is…