Microsoft, HP make laptop pitch to Maine educators

While HP won the competition, school administrators still can choose to buy from Apple, which offered a less-expensive iPad tablet and a more expensive MacBook Air laptop. And the state didn’t anticipate that HP would win a majority of the contracts on its first try, said Samantha Warren, education department spokeswoman.

Maine, the only state to provide laptops to public school students statewide, worked with Hawaii and Vermont to negotiate the contract focusing on five different laptops and tablets.

School districts have until June 13 to decide among the options, including an HP laptop at $254 per unit per year over a four-year lease, or the iPad or MacBook Air. Other options include an HP tablet and a CTL 2go Classmate PC.

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Evans acknowledged he had his work cut out for him because of educators’ familiarity with Apple products.

He approached his task with enthusiasm and a sense of humor. “It’s not about being cool. It’s the geeks who’ve inherited most of the world,” he joked in response to a question about Apple’s cool factor.

And for educators, he had a different message, urging them to be open-minded about the merits of the HP proposal even though they’re more comfortable with Apple.

“I would encourage them not to focus on what’s right for you but what’s right for students. We can do not only what they’ve been doing, but amazing things they hadn’t even imagined,” he said.

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