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Maine MLTI school program awards PC contract to HP, snubs Apple

updated 09:07 pm EDT, Tue April 30, 2013

Long-term exclusive deal with Apple nixed by new deal

Hewlett Packard announced today that it was awarded a four-year hardware and services contract by the Maine Department of Education. The Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) award effectively ends the state's long-running exclusive contract with Apple, which was in place since 2002. The program will ensure each student in the school system is equipped with a computing device, an underpinning of the initiative since it was founded by then-Governor Angus King in 2001.

Seemingly unaware that the state's existing Intel-based Apple computers were recently considered to be one of the best Windows 8 experiences, Maine Governor Paul R. LePage spoke on the contract award, saying that it was "important that our students are using technology that they will see and use in the workplace. The laptops use an operating system that is commonly used in the workplace in Maine. This is the lowest-priced proposal, and these laptops will provide students with the opportunity to enhance their learning and give them experience on the same technology and software they will see in their future careers."

Apple's primary proposal provided a 13-inch MacBook Air and an iPad mini to each teacher in grades 7-12. Students in grades 7 and 8 (and other opt-in grades) would receive an iPad with Retina display for a $217 cost per seat per year. Apple's alternative offer came in at $273 per seat, per year. Students were slated to receive an 11-inch MacBook Air, with teachers getting a 13-inch MacBook Air. Both proposals also required a $49 per year per-seat charge for wireless network maintenance and repairs.

The winning Hewlett Packard proposal put forth a $254.86 per-seat per-year deal. Teachers and students would receive a Windows 8 Hewlett Packard 4440S laptop with a dual-core 1.9GHz Celeron equipped with 2GB of RAM, and a 14-inch display running at 1366x768 resolution. HP would subcontract networking to BlackBox, with a similar per-head charge for wireless network management as Apple's proposals.

The last unit Apple provided to the state was the plastic-housed MacBook at an estimated cost to the state of $700 per unit. Deployment III units distributed in Maine from 2009 through this year were a 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo model with a 120GB hard drive, and 2GB of RAM.

Governor LePage added that middle schools would be able to choose any of the proposals made to the state, and the state would cover the cost up to the amount of the equivalent HP proposal. At the high school level, where districts pay for the devices themselves with the support of state targeted technology funds, the state will leverage its buying power to get the lowest price possible on any of the solutions.

Other school districts switching away from Apple solutions have reported dramatic increases in service and repair costs, which in most cases, exceed any cost savings from shifting hardware providers. Apple provided unusually-long four-year AppleCare warranties on provided equipment under the Maine school deal. HP is providing "a development specialist, instructional workshops, technical workshops and an active portal that will be a one-stop shop for all professional development resources for any educator in the state."

Existing MacBook computers may be purchased for $47 per unit by the schools that have them in hand assuming all of the units in the school are purchased. AppleCare for all units, regardless of original deployment or purchase date, expires on June 30. Computers that have not been retained by the assigned schools will be sent to the state of Maine's surplus system for sale to the general public after a period of exclusivity by other state governmental agencies seeking the machines.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. Makosuke

    Junior Member

    Joined: 08-06-01

    You go with what you think is the best bid, but if those Windows machines are running Windows 8, I'd like to take a bet on whether that's what the students will be seeing in the workplace. It's the new Vista, as far as I can tell, when it comes to business adoption--I'm certainly not rolling it out to any of my clients.

    Also, I will be impressed if those laptops end up being cheaper to maintain than iPads in the long run. Would be an interesting case study, actually.

  1. EstaNightshift

    MacNN Staff

    Joined: 07-19-12

    Since the original article publication, we have discovered that they are running Windows 8.

  1. thinkman

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-04-05

    Another step backwards for education.

  1. chas_m

    MacNN Staff

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Looking at these specs, it seems to me that Maine is getting new machines that are arguably no improvement whatsoever -- and may in fact be worse -- than the four-year-old MacBooks. Windows 8 on 2GB of RAM with a 1.9GHz Celeron? Maine is getting shafted here to the tune of millions, and this has absolutely nothing to do with Apple, the OS or the software -- I'm talking purely hardware here. Even if you're going to go with Windows 8 machines, you should be able to get a lot better quality hardware than something a four-year-old MacBook would have no trouble beating.

  1. jpellino

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-29-99

    Celeron? That's not even a currently configurable model on the HP site. They got hosed. Doubt they figured in the training cost of moving to W8. The law of unintended consequences strikes again...

  1. TomMcIn

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-21-01

    Great if they are working to train technicians.

  1. Grendelmon

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 12-26-07

    Sigh

    Originally Posted by NewsPosterView Post

    "Seemingly unaware that the state's existing Intel-based Apple computers were recently considered to be one of the best Windows 8 experiences..."



    Fluff. Doesn't belong in this story.

  1. Grendelmon

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 12-26-07

    WTH?

    Originally Posted by chas_mView Post

    Looking at these specs, it seems to me that Maine is getting new machines that are arguably no improvement whatsoever -- and may in fact be worse -- than the four-year-old MacBooks. Windows 8 on 2GB of RAM with a 1.9GHz Celeron? Maine is getting shafted here to the tune of millions, and this has absolutely nothing to do with Apple, the OS or the software -- I'm talking purely hardware here. Even if you're going to go with Windows 8 machines, you should be able to get a lot better quality hardware than something a four-year-old MacBook would have no trouble beating.



    Where in the heck are you getting those specs? Sounds like a bunch of bull to me.

    The official HP education store lists the model specs here:
    http://gem.compaq.com/gemstore/MatrixDisplay.asp?ProductLineId=9&FamilyId=2711&oi=E9CED

    Core i3, i5 or i7. That's a step UP from the Core Duos.

    Does Windows 8 even support Celerons? Again, please post the URL for where you are finding these "specs."

  1. EstaNightshift

    MacNN Staff

    Joined: 07-19-12

    Two minutes on Google would have found that 1- you can configure the 4440S with a Celeron, and 2- this is from the proposal that HP submitted to the state.

    http://www.maine.gov/mlti/deployment/HPPrimary_RFP201210412.pdf

    Have fun going through the 300 pages.

    You want to talk Bull? The HP press release on this omitted the Governor's remarks that it was the cheapest proposal. Just snipped it clean out of the middle of his statement.

  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 01-16-00

    As a Mainiac, I am deeply disappointed in this decision.
    Many, many boos to the State of Maine.

  1. prl99

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 03-24-09

    http://maine.gov/mlti/index.shtml Windows 8 Hewlett Packard 4440
    http://www8.hp.com/us/en/products/laptops/product-detail.html?oid=5229486 "Confidently tackle tough work assignments with a CeleronĀ®, 2nd-generation i3 or i5, or 3rd-generation i3, i5 or i7 processor and UMA graphics from Intel." Says it can use a Celeron but when you click to configure, none of them list a Celeron; typical HP.
    http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=MLTINews&id=519823&v=details "The five proposals come from three vendors: Hewlett Packard, which also was awarded for a tablet solution; Apple, which proposed both an iPad and a MacBook Air laptop solution; and CTL, with a Windows laptop solution." HP tablet?? that must be a joke

    Articles on Maine websites say HP 4440 not 4440s. HP does not list a 4440. I couldn't easily find a copy of the contract to see exactly what HP submitted.

    The concept of using the same computer businesses use is something that can be harmful to younger students because the computers they learn on won't be the same ones in use 5-10 years from now. Of course, nobody ever said school board members or principals had any sense when it comes to these things. My family is full of credentialed teachers and whatever helps a student learn is what you use. Forcing them on something they have problems understanding only handicaps their learning progress. Just because businesses use PCs doesn't mean those workers don't have a Mac at home and would benefit from using a better educational tool. I don't know of anyone who say a Windows PC is a good educational tool.

  1. EstaNightshift

    MacNN Staff

    Joined: 07-19-12

    Originally Posted by prl99View Post

    Articles on Maine websites say HP 4440 not 4440s. HP does not list a 4440. I couldn't easily find a copy of the contract to see exactly what HP submitted.



    The contract proposal is in my post up above. The device is spelled out as the 4440S, with the specs we published.

    Originally Posted by GrendelmonView Post

    Fluff. Doesn't belong in this story.



    You don't get to make this decision. Very vocal critics of the decision, including teachers and alum of the program have pointed out exactly the same fact which makes it very relevant. The point remains, the MacBooks will run Windows 8, if needed, just as well if not better than the HP machines that the state is getting for the next four years.

    What we didn't point out with the award is the total revision to lesson plans required, the man-hours that school IT will have to put forth in dealing with the transition, the lack of wide-spread adoption of Windows 8 making the rationale behind the selection questionable, data migration issues, and a host of other factors.

  1. prl99

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 03-24-09

    @Esta, I was posting while your proposal with the specific URL was posted. I agree with your assessment of the stupidity of the choice of HP, especially when it is based solely on the original purchase price.

    Look at ink jet printers. They are practically given away because it's the ink that costs the money. Typical loss-leader approach. Give the computers away, lock them into Microsoft's ridiculously high client licenses for all their software, and you have the contract. Without reading, did HP include realistic maintenance costs into the contract? With the laptops they specified, why buy maintenance. When the laptop dies, just buy a new one. It would probably be cheaper than a maintenance contract.

    Buy cheap, get junk.

  1. prl99

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 03-24-09

    @Esta, you need to fix the link. It's coming out as:

    http://http//www.maine.gov/mlti/deployment/HPPrimary_RFP201210412.pdf

  1. EstaNightshift

    MacNN Staff

    Joined: 07-19-12

    Just got this message. Loads fine here. Perhaps some friendly admin fixed it for me.

  1. macvette

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 02-20-04

    I'm an electrical engineering consultant. I have yet to see ANY clients using Windows 8. Some are actually still using Win XP Pro. Any Windows machine with only 2 GB of RAM is worthless. I guess this is what happens if you let the bean counters make tech decisions.

  1. phillymjs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-19-00

    Another moron who thinks that teaching kids how to use Microsoft Office is better than teaching them general computing concepts that apply across platforms.

    And HP? Great choice. I look forward to the follow-up articles about how their support costs have skyrocketed and how so many computers are inoperative that students are forced to share the ones that still work.

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