Georgia school district to propose 63,000 Macs for students and teachers

“Cobb County wants Apple Computer to provide laptop computers to more than 63,000 teachers and students in what would be one of the largest such programs in the country. System officials Monday acknowledged the choice, but declined further comment until Wednesday — including the multimillion-dollar price tag. At a meeting Wednesday, Superintendent Joseph Redden is scheduled to unveil the details in a presentation to school board members,” Kristina Torres reports for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Board members will be asked for approval next month, when the first of three phases of the program comes before them for a vote. On March 9, they will be asked to approve a program to provide laptops to all the district’s teachers this spring. They will also be asked to approve money to set up four school demonstration sites in the fall,” Torres reports. “The second phase will be to provide the computers to high school students in early 2006, and the third and final phase will be to provide the computers to middle school students.”

Torres reports, “Cobb has spent months negotiating with companies including IBM and Dell, and previously estimated the cost at more than $69.4 million over four years. That figure does not include negotiated expenses such as support, training and maintenance.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Back in August 2003, Charles Haddad, writing for BusinessWeek, lamented the Mac’s future in education with the words, “Alas, despite Apple’s best efforts, enthusiasts such as [Pro-Mac teachers] probably can only slow the erosion, with Apple assuming the niche role it has in so many other markets. But they can’t turn the tide. The lemmings, I’m afraid, have won the day in education.”

Sorry, Charlie, we never forget and we never give up. Neither does Apple. Charles was wrong about Apple in education.* As others were and are about Apple in other markets. Never forget that in 1929, Ford held just over 61% of the U.S. market for automobiles. General Motors’ market share stood at just 12%. Ford was thought to be invincible, with GM regarded as a niche auto maker. But, in 1936, just seven years later, Ford held 22% of the market for new automobiles while General Motors held a 43% share. No company is invincible. Not even Microsoft.

*Apple’s sales to the education market showed a 19% increase in unit sales and 21% increase in revenue which was Apple’s biggest education quarter in four years, Apple revealed in their fiscal Q4 conference call this past October. Apple showed a 9% increase in sales to the K-12 sector and a 34% increase in higher education, driven largely by sales of iBook and PowerBook portable Macintoshes.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
A tale of two school systems: Windows schools crippled while Mac schools unaffected – August 21, 2003
BusinessWeek: Apple’s fate in schools is to assume niche status – August 13, 2003

22 Comments

  1. I live in Cobb County and have gone to some of the public forums, where the sentiment seems to be against laptops in the classroom. The biggest fear is that the technology will be dumped on the teachers and they will be left to fend for themselves. Many of them, no doubt, are PC only users, so the fear is probably a bit of that. When I heard the school member talking about the success of laptop programs in places like Henrico county and Maine, I knew that Apple was on the inside track.
    My little girl, age 10,loves the 20′ iMac at home, and her iPod for Christmas, and can’t understand why the clunky Dells in the school library at broken or hard for most kids to use. When I wake her in the morning to tell her this news (that’s she’s getting an iBook like Mom and the other workers at our family business) she’ll be whistling to the bus stop!

  2. on a more serious note, I want to get the place I work at to switch (its a public library http://www.oppl.org)

    I can not imagine anything more perfect than mac minis with an Xserve rack as the main server….

    I guess the real trick is if the catalogue system will work for mac….

    Anyone have any suggestions on how to make a good argument even better?

  3. Pat..

    I guess we have to leave it up to you to educate the un-educated !!

    For Apple to score a sale of this magnitude, would be a big feather in His Steveness’ hat !!

    Good Luck !!

  4. “…. guess the real trick is if the catalogue system will work for mac…….”

    Depends…. I would guess….

    Is your catalogue system just a databse … or something more ?…

    Also… something else just occured to me…. switching just one branch library to Macs, might not be enough…. you might have to think about the entire library “district” as well…

    Tall order, maybe …. but then… so is Mt Everest …. and it, too has been scaled !!

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