Henrico school board dumps Apple Macs, picks Dells with Windows

“In a stunning change of course, Henrico County’s School Board voted last night to distribute Dell computers to every high school student and teacher next year,” The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. “The unanimous vote to broker a deal with Dell Inc. represents a victory for the Round Rock, Texas-based company in its battle with Apple Computers Inc. for superiority in the fast-growing education technology market.”

“Four years ago, Apple and Henrico struck a deal that drew national attention for being one of the first initiatives to give every middle and high school student a laptop,” The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: These people are about to learn a bunch of important lessons. Bad decisions have consequences. Too bad for the students, but they’ll be learning something, too. What a step backwards! So, now Henrico will have Windows XP where they could’ve had Mac OS X Tiger. Think about that for a moment. Wow. It’s not the hardware, Henrico folks. All personal computers and operating systems are not the same. Oh, never mind, you’ll learn soon enough. Wonder if we’ll ever know if things are going badly for Henrico or will it just be swept under the rug?

Apple’s “Profile in Success – Henrico County Public Schools” webpages are currently still online here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Cobb County school board approves Apple Mac plan; could eventually distribute 63,000 iBooks – April 29, 2005

Henrico County Apple iBook plan in jeopardy? – April 02, 2005
Survey shows support for Henrico iBook program with ‘lukewarm support’ for Apple’s Mac OS X – March 07, 2005
Henrico poll finds students are using iBooks successfully – February 11, 2005
Henrico iBooks raise concerns among some parents – May 28, 2004
Henrico high school laptop program to continue, but will it still feature Apple Macs? – February 24, 2005
More schools experience Windows virus, worm problems while Macs just keep working – August 22, 2003
A tale of two school systems: Windows schools crippled while Mac schools unaffected – August 21, 2003


  1. All I can say is its great they are getting laptops, but they are going to be paying out the wazzo to get all the viruses and spyware off those laptops after only a few months of use. Hope they saved the money they saved by going super cheap with Dell to pay for the IT support they will be needing. What is the statistic. Need one PC Tech for every 40 computers, while its Mac Tech for every 100 or something. I need to find thoses numbers again.

    Ironic that my MDN Magic Word is “great”.

  2. Someones been bought off! Are they that stupid?
    Cost to maintain just went up. Quick, somebody check the school board members bank accounts. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”mad” style=”border:0;” />

  3. They have made themselves a bed I hope they don’t regret having to lie in. And how ironic is it that their decision was made the day before Tiger is released?

    MW=bring, as in “Bring on the pain!”

  4. My son’s middle school got Dull laptops this March. Without going into details (the story is too long for here), it’s a big factor in our decision to put him in private school next year. Horrible, horrible program. Might as well have given them a subscription to Hustler Magazine.

  5. Well assuming this was a straight “business” decision and not tainted, their decision process obviously is wanting (to be mild). Any thought of ‘Total Cost of Ownership’ (TCO) you rubes?

    From a purely educational standpoint, the MAC OS X platform offers: various solid and widely used OPEN standards, X Code 2, etc.

    From a productivity and management viewpoint: No Windblow$ malwares, parental controls, much more secure, yada, yada.

    Feel really bad for the kids. Also, Apple needs to do a much better job of managing these “sales cyles” and “relationships” as we slick, big city sales types say.

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  6. I agree that it would have been easier to use the Macs but this is education that is suppose to prepare them for adulthood. Using windows based machines makes sense because almost every single business uses them. They will learn the windows OS and also the shortcomings of it. By learning in a non critical environment they will be better prepared for the business world. Hopefully when their computers mess up the school will take the time to teach the students how to repair their own machines.

    It make sense to learn about the equipment that they will most likely be using in the business world. Like it or not it’s better for the kids.

    Hopefully things will change and the Mac will begin to be more widely accepted but that time isn’t here yet.

  7. I feel for the Henrico students, but in some ways this is a good thing; not that anyones poised to take advantage. Don’t hang me! Here’s what I’m thinking…

    One thing that Apple has needed in its “education” outreach programs is a measure of how beneficial Macs were vs a PC. And I don’t mean, ohh the benefit of having a computer. I mean, how many days per years was the computer usable, what number of virus, bugs, crashes and other breakdowns were log, how much additional technical support was required–for teachers, for students, for student families, how easy was it for teachers to implement the computer into various studies (not just as “go write your history report”, but as forget your traditional 5 page paper, your history report is going to be a multi-media web page or CD-Rom, or DVD with text, images, sounds, video, etc.

    The downside of Apple’s success in the area, is let’s face it no one wanted to come in and pull the computers from someone’s hand; and say well last year you were on a Mac, and that was super successful, but this year let’s see if your success can be equally measured on a PC. And comparing one school district against another just has its limitations (things like teachers, students, and other variable start coming in and have to be accounted for).

    But having the same school, with mostly the same students and families; and a one year baseline with an Apple computer followed by one year with a Dell computer, really offers the chance for some great research, that no one would independently suggest to any school district. Having the school district shoot themselves, is pretty much the only way this type of research could or would be accomplished.

    I think it would be highly beneficial for someone to come in, and make sure all the “t’s” and “i’s” are crossed and dotted on a combo user/usage/benefit evaluation; and use that as a baseline comparison against a one year usage of the Dell’s. I think both quantitive and qualitative measures should be used. I think even if that is just a basic comparison of support needs and uptime; that Apple stands to win; and better yet they stand to win with verifiable data, as opposed to abstract platitudes.

    I think sometime during year two when more than half of Henrico’s Dell’s have been exchanged, declared, dead, or just totally unusable because of crippleware–virus, spyware, adware, etc. That a nice big Case Study should be published “Henrico School District: Computer’s in Education, Lessons Learned” or something more biting.

    Because even if the results return that ALL the Dell’s are still working and still usable, then it would also have to return (or should return) the costs associated with keeping them so… like we had to hire 1 additional IT professional for each school in the district, or we had to purchase or seek donations of Anti-Virus, Spyware, and Adware software, teach instructors and families how to run scans and repairs, blah, blah, blah.

  8. Greg,

    No offense, but maybe you should move to Henrico County. You seem to match the IQ requirements.

    I graduated school in 1998. No business worth anything is using Windows 98. My boss and owner of the business graduated in 1988. No business is using DOS or Windows 2.0 or whatever crap was available then.

    You teach CONCEPTS, not specific operating systems and applications, in a real school that cares. OSes and apps change too frequently.

    Magic Word: “future”
    (MDN, you’re freaking me out!)

  9. allgood2,

    That would be fine and dandy, but the people who made this decision and Dell+Microsoft will be covering their asses mightily. The truth will not come out of Henrico easily.

    In a perfect world, you are right. In this world, the facts will probably never be known about how much money and productivity Henrico lost by moving from Apple Mac OS X to Dell+Windows XP.

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