Apple scored a major win in 2001 when it signed a four-year deal to provide an iBook for every high school student in Henrico County, Va., but Dell swooped in and snatched away that business when it came up for renewal this year. The switch was announced on Thursday night when the Henrico County School Board unanimously voted to award the new contract to Dell.
The original contract was worth US$24.2 million and consisted of 23,000 iBooks while the new one is valued at $17.87 million and will provide 15,800 Dell laptops. According to an article in The Henrico Citizen, Dell outbid Apple by approximately $4 million, selling the laptops to the school system for $1,130.92 each. Apple, however, still has a four-year contract with Henrico County for the countyis middle school students; that deal will expire in June 2006.
Henrico Citizen editor Tom Lappas attended a Friday morning press conference with school superintendent Fred Morton, who said that "a number of variables weighed into the switch -- it was not just one thing." Mr. Morton also told reporters that Henrico has an offer from Dell to sign a four-year contract to provide laptops to middle school students for $20 less apiece than the cost of the high school computers.
Mr. Lappas also spoke with the school systemis Director of Technology, Lloyd Brown, who said that Apple and Dell were finalists that ran "neck-and-neck" to the finish line. Mr. Lappas wrote that Mr. Brown told him that "Apple computers typically are more expensive than Dells anyway," an erroneous line of thought that doesnit take into account long-term support costs and other factors.
Mr. Morton told Mr. Lappas that "the school systemis existing computer network will be able to handle the switch from Apple to Dell without any significant adjustments."