HP’s ProBook 440 beat out Apple’s iPad and Macbook Air, as well as an HP tablet and the CTL 2go Classmate PC, as the preferred device for the Maine Learning Technology Initiative.

Hewlett-Packard and Windows 8 might not take Maine’s Apple-loving schools by storm, but HP and Microsoft making a strong pitch to educators who must decide this week which laptops or tablets they’re going to provide to more than 70,000 middle and high school students this fall.

Apple was the sole provider of laptops under the Maine Learning Technology Initiative for a decade before HP won a competition in late April to become the state’s preferred one-to-one computing vendor.

Cameron Evans, the chief technology officer for Microsoft Education, acknowledged that Maine educators are accustomed to Apple products but said the HP proposal provides the same tools—and even more—while utilizing a Windows operating system preferred by entrepreneurs.

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“This is a journey, and we’re committed for the long haul,” Evans said after meeting with education officials at the State House and visiting several school districts.

Evans was in Maine to talk to educators about an HP ProBook 440 with Windows 8, which would be fully funded in middle schools as the state’s preferred option under the Maine Learning Technology Initiative. The state will leverage its buying power for high schools, about half of which participate in the one-to-one computing program.

(Next page: The choices facing Maine’s schools this week—and what Evans is saying to persuade them)