For the first time since 2002, the State of Maine wants its schools to buy HP notebooks running Windows 8 instead of Apple Macs.
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.
Maine recieved proposals from three vendors when it was looking to renew its laptop contract. Apple’s bid covered iPads and MacBook Air laptops. HP’s covered the ProBook laptops and some kind of tablet, presumably also Windows 8. A company called CTL put in a bid for a Windows laptop, too.