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Friday, July 08, 2011, 07:25 pm PT (10:25 pm ET)

Apple's back-to-school promo clobbering Microsoft's efforts

In spite of initial skepticism from industry watchers, Apple’s annual Back to School promotion is off to a strong start, pushing a fourfold increase in Mac sales over that of Windows PCs by college students in some circles.

Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry issued a note to investors earlier this week pointing out that education sales of Apple’s Macs have been significantly outselling Windows PCs. The firm’s research indicated that “80% of incoming students are buying Apple Computers vs. Windows Computers.”

Apple this year is offering education customers a $100 iTunes store credit with the purchase of a qualifying Mac. The deal was originally thought to be less attractive than the promotion from recent years, but, based on the recent statistics, interest in this year’s promotion has not suffered as a result of the change.

Interestingly enough, though Apple’s advertisements suggest students would use the credit to buy apps from the Mac App Store, most are choosing to buy songs. The report also notes that Senior students are showing “strong interest” in purchasing an iPad before school begins, while more students attending online universities such as Phoenix Online are buying Macs than in years past.

Chowdrhy also reports that Apple is enjoying substantial success in the Enterprise. New data indicates that “probably about 35% of Fortune 500 companies are giving Apple as a Choice to its employees, and majority are preferring Apple over Windows.”

The report believes that Apple's gains are a result of “the success of iPad is putting pressure on Enterprise IT to not only support iPad, but also Apple iPhones and Apple iMacs and MacBooks,” going as far as to say that high-level executives are “influencing the IT to bring Apple products into the Enterprise.”

GER predicts that iTunes will contribute $13 billion in revenues in fiscal 2013, due to increased support of Apple’s iBook Store and rising sales in App Store, which has recently passed 15 billion downloads.

In one final comment sure to please the Cupertino, Calif.-based iPhone maker, the firm’s report suggests that the “Apple iOS Developer Ecosystem continues to grow at the expense of Android, RIMM and Windows.” Chowdhry said “developers are increasingly developing” for iOS, with iOS 5 serving as “another catalyst” in shifting developer momentum.

To conclude, GER adjusted its revenue estimates upward “to reflect a strong back to school sales of Apple computers, market share wins of Apple in the enterprise and acceleration in Apple’s iBook and AppStore.” The analyst predicts the “Other’s category” in Apple’s iTunes will have a compound annual growth rate of 39 percent over the next three years, though he cautions that rising gasoline prices could negatively affect “all Equities including Apple.” The analyst reiterated the firm’s 12 month price target of $400.