U.S. State Department pays $6,600 each for Amazon Kindles that retail for $189

“The State Department awarded a $16.5 million contract to Amazon to stock designated libraries and U.S.-friendly educational centers around the world with 2,500 Kindle e-Readers, procurement databases show,” Dawn Lim reports for Nextgov. “The contract includes 50 titles, a secure central management system and round-the-clock help desk services.”

“Kindles were seen as the only appropriate devices for this contract, which was not opened for competitive bidding,” Lim reports. “The devices will aid those seeking to study English and learn about America.”

“Competing devices such as the Barnes and Noble Nook, Sony Reader Daily and Kobe e-Reader were unsuitable as they couldn’t offer the same the text-to-speech function, battery life and global Wi-Fi connectivity, according to a government document,” Lim reports. “The Apple iPads offered unnecessary functions that presented ‘unacceptable security and usability risks for the government’s needs in this particular project,’ the documents said. iPads also fell short on battery life requirements and would not allow the State Department the same control over the dissemination of content, the notice added.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Attribution: Heritage.org. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “HotinPlaya” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: Okay, who’s surprised?

iOS 6’s “single app mode” on iPad 2’s would save the State Department beaucoup dollars, wouldn’t it?


  1. Sadly, I can believe this. And it’s not because the agency is stupid. It’s because they have to comply with a host of procurement laws passed by the good folks in DC. It defies common sense, but common sense has never been a strong suit of Congress. At the agency I work for, we have to go with a small business provider to contract out our IT needs and they charge a per month fee for a computer that is refreshed every three years. The first year’s fee is well over the cost of the machine at full retail. And the maintenance they provide is to install patches that come from M$ or Apple.

  2. This is the price Apple pays for having integrity, losing out on government contracts because they spent ten times less on lobbying than their competitors (this is true of google for sure, and I suspect amazon as well).

  3. How do I get to bid on these contracts? That’s at least $15m of pure profit, even allowing for training and distribution costs.

    My only other point is a pure WTF???!!? No wonder countries run up deficits with this sort of nonsense going on.

  4. The iPad is a security risk… I think the government spending $6600 a Kindle is a security risk. The decision makers for this “deal” should be put in jail for extorting the American people.

  5. Well MDN, I have no idea what’s happened with WordPress, but after posting a comment I have no scroll bars on this page in Safari… even after signing out of WordPress, going back to your main page and hitting the link back this page. The scroll bar appears then vanishes.

    I finally managed to get this feedback by selecting text and pulling down to select all the text in posted replies, but still no scroll bar, either vertical or horizontal as I just discovered when I resized the window in both directions.

    Really… this is progress?

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