Keep or dump Apple iBooks? Henrico restarts laptop bidding on middle school computer contract

“It’s back to the drawing board for Henrico County’s School Board, which voted last night to request proposals for a computer vendor to supply laptops to the county’s middle schools,” Olympia Meola reports for The Richmond Times-Dispatch. “Superintendent Fred Morton IV said he hopes to have a decision by the end of January to give school staff adequate prep time before the new school year.”

Meola reports, “Middle school students and teachers use school-issued Apple iBooks, but a contract for the majority of the machines expires in June. High school teachers and students also used iBooks before Dell defeated Apple this year with a four-year, $17.9 million contract to continue the program. At the same time, Dell made an offer of about 14,000 laptops for the middle schools at $20 less, or $1,111 per unit. In a work session this month, the board weighed pros and cons of taking Dell’s offer. On one hand, high school students just began using Dell laptops this school year and some board members think too little time has passed to make a decision about using them in the middle schools.”

Full article here.

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24 Comments

  1. It’s clear that the Henrico school district has made fools of themselves on numerous occasions. They clearly misunderstood the value of ibooks when they chose to sell them for $50 leading to the now infamous frenzy. The remarkable thing that keeps going unmentioned is that they (like some companies) fail to understand Total Cost of Ownership. What do they pay their tech support people? Overtime costs and the investment in antispyware, virus software, and other tech support would easily wipe out any savings they might get by Dell’s lowball pricing over the full life of the system. The number? $280,000 in pure computer cost. The $20 per unit less they quote does NOT include the extra software needed to protect them. So…if you ADD that at around $30 per unit and factor in the weak software bundle that comes with the Dell laptops Henrico is paying MORE!
    Why can’t someone on the school board figure this out?

  2. How many Herico County School Board members does it take to change a lightbulb?

    Answer: none, they just sit there in the dark like aa bunch of idiots.

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

  3. When Apple was making their prposal, surely they made the school board aware of all the add-ons –spyware, malware–cost of IT people, etc. etc. If they didn’t, then they didn’t deserve the contract.

    It’s called “Selling”. Do you see ANY ads “Selling” Macs?

  4. The issue should be simple, how many dollars are spent for the Dell laptop program. What’s the projected budget of the entire program, how many students — you then get the Total Cost per Pupil. Compare that to the iBook program budget and costs.

    Unless Henrico gets insane software discounts, I can’t imagine the costs are comparable.

  5. Yikes!
    You can’t write stuff like this for a sitcom, TV drama series or the movies — it just wouldn’t be believable!
    (“Henrico II — Just when you thought they would have learned something”).

    Sheesh —
    “and some board members think too little time has passed to make a decision about using them in the middle schools.”

    What’s to think about? Get Macs!

    MDN Magic Word: Clear — as in They are just not thinking clear enough — to steer clear enough away from Windoze.

    Unbelievable and scary.

    DG

  6. It would be good for Apple to make the sale if only for P R reasons. However I doubt Apple makes any money out of this deal since the support for this and additional hardware is likely to be high.

  7. The problem with making a presentation like this is that some of it is based on speculation. How can Apple “know” what the projected amount of down time and IT support the Dells will need? One of the bases for the comment that “not enough time has passed” is that they are without question encountering extra tech support problems with the Dells in that environment (high school)…and might wonder if it will get better (it won’t). Anything that Apple says to convince them of this will come off as hype. There are case studies out there that convincingly demonstrate the total cost of ownership for the Mac is lower (in some cases MUCH lower) but it must be remembered that Windows DOES dominate the business world and is on over 90% of people’s desks. If you grew up in a home with Windows where it was a ‘minimal use’ home and tried to use a Mac it would seem very odd to you and any personal quirks you might have about using the two
    systems would be percieved as an annoyance (What? I can’t resize my windows from the side!?)…so it’s worth noting that Apple has to overcome not only the inertia in people’s habits, but a large number of myths about the Mac. It’s a tough, tough job. Still…Henrico’s School Board is largely clueless as to the real issues here. These are EDUCATORS?

  8. Don’t forget to act like little babies and write to everyone involved slinging insults.

    Calm, well-written, logic and facts are not what are needed. Flames will get the job done! Flames ALWAYS impress decision-makers and press alike!

  9. You are all missing the big picture. In a year or two this Henrico switch to Dells is going to sell a lot of Apple iBooks when the real difference in TCO at Henrico is shown to all other schools. Henrico’s stupidity will be a lesson for all other districts.

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