Henrico Says No to Apple’s iBook Lease Renewal Offer

The Henrico County, Virginia School Board has turned down an offer by Apple Computer to renew and extend a lease on the iBook computers the school system gives to middle and high school students.

The The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Tuesday that Apple had offered to upgrade the existing 18,000 iBooks presently being used for 23,000 new laptops if the school system would renew the contract. The current contract ends in 2005 for the high school computers and 2006 for middle school students.

The main reason the school system turned down the offer was the high cost of a one-year opt-out clause the board had requested. In addition, Chairman Stuart Myers said the laptops are in good shape and donit need replacing and the entire program will be evaluated this year to determine any needed changes.

Mr. Myers said the new lease would not have cost any more on an annual basis and required no up-front cash payment. Henricois school system now pays more than US$5 million a year to lease iBooks.

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