In his latest “Byte of the Apple” column for BusinessWeek, Alex Salkever takes a look at Apple’s Education business of late. While several high-profile education deals have gone pear-shaped recently — the state of Michigan awarded their contract to HP, a study done on the Pittsburgh school district’s Apple program received less than stellar grades, and recent layoffs in Apple’s education division — all is not bad news. “Combine these dark spots with the continued implosion of state and local budgets, and the school crew from One Infinite Loop looks like it may be plunging back into the abyss,” says Salkever. “In this case, however, looks are deceiving. Losing a big deal definitely stinks, but it’s a single point on the curve. And the curve’s slope turned up in the last quarter of 2003, as Apple’s overall education market share rose by 2.7%, according to numbers from tech tracker IDC cited by Apple executives at a Mar. 1 analyst briefing.”