HP just won a contract to become the preferred tech provider for Maine schools and not just because it was the lowest-priced bidder – although it was.
Maine Governor Paul LePage said Windows is used by more employers and that makes it better for students. “It is important that our students are using technology that they will see and use in the workplace,” he said in a press release.
Maine is considered a leader in providing laptops for students. In a program first launched in 2002, every middle school student, and many a high school student, is provided with a laptop. This covers about 33,000 middle school students and 3,000 teachers.
Apple won the original contract, worth $37 million at the time, and it was extended in 2006 and 2009.
Now, Maine wants the schools to buy a HP ProBook 4440 laptop running Windows 8 software instead of a Mac. Maine is not forcing the schools to abandon Macs. But it negotiated a lower price for the HP PCs so if schools want Macs, they'll have to pay the difference.
Interestingly, although the 4440 is running Windows 8, it is not a touch screen device.
CORRECTED: Maine recieved multiple proposals when it was looking to renew its laptop contract and approved five devices that schools could buy: iPads and MacBook Air laptops covered in Apple's bid; the ProBook laptops and some kind of tablet, presumably also Windows 8 from HP's; a Windows laptop from a company called CTL.
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