Apple UK is increasing its focus on UK education, and has signed up Research Machines to help sell its products to the sector.

The deal is highly significant. It means Apple products are now being distributed by the UK's leading educational supplier of software, services and systems.

Founded in 1973, Research Machines specializes exclusively in the UK market, with 1,400 employees devoted to its various operations within the sector. The company also supplies one-in-four of the Windows-based systems used in schools under its own brand. Sources report Apple UK's education team to be "excited" about the relationship.

DV choice
Marking the deal, Research Machines has devoted the front page of its Web site to publicizing Apple's products, titled: "Research Machines delivers Apple digital-video technology, offering you a choice."

Research Machines explains: "There has been an increasing demand for DV products in the education sector, and Apple solutions are very popular with a large number of schools and colleges. Research Machines already provides a range of PC based DV solutions, but wanted to offer customers as much choice as possible when it came to their media requirements."

Apple's notebooks – PowerBook and iBook – have been winning it sales in the education market here. It took 7.9 per cent of the UK's education market for notebooks in Q2 2003 (IDC). At the end of 2003 research firm Gartner described the company's UK education market share (notebooks and desktops) as at 8.5 per cent – up from 6.4 per cent in 2002.