Cobb County iBook Deal Faces New Hurdle

Attorneys for Georgiais Cobb County school board will investigate an allegation that school leaders pressured employees to pick Apple to supply up to 63,000 laptops for students, Sundayis Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

At a hearing last Friday, Mindy DiSalvo, who was on a school boar committee that scored initial bids from computer makers vying for the contract, testified that Dell and IBM both scored higher than Apple, but that school leaders wanted Apple to win the contract. In February 2005, Cobb County announced that it selected Apple for the contract, worth up to $69.9 million over four years.

The allegation isnit the first threat the controversial initiative has encountered. In June 2005, a former Cobb County commissioner filed suit to stop the program claiming that the funds voters had approved, which is paying the for the program, were meant for other purposes. That lawsuit is still pending.

The first phase of the iBook program, worth about $25 million, is set to go into action this Fall, when four pilot high schools receive shipment of 17,000 iBooks for students and teachers. Eventually 63,000 students and teachers will receive iBooks.