Cobb County iBook program a train wreck

by Chris Adamson

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Cobb County, GA's purchase of 63,000 iBooks for middle school teachers and students may be falling apart, according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Mike King's column "Bombshell may unravel Cobb laptops". Choice bits:

The county's district attorney has been asked to determine whether the bidding process was rigged to make sure that Apple became the favored supplier. His investigation will likely lead to a grand jury probe. And the school board -- in what appears to be a rare sign of independence from its superintendent on the issue -- has decided to hire an auditing firm out of New York to look over the whole bidding procedure.


Lost in the bombshell of that disclosure was the reason for the lawsuit in the first place: that the school district pulled a bait-and-switch on voters in 2003 when they got them to approve about $70 million in sales taxes for new technology but never told them it would be used to purchase 63,000 laptops for students and teachers to take home with them.

As a Cobb County resident and Mac fan, I blogged against the idea a while back because it seemed ill-advised and purposeless. But this is an ugly way for it to go down, and the allegations that the process was rigged on Apple's behalf could make for some rotten PR if there's anything to it.

Scratch one success story?


2005-07-22 05:36:30
This is so sad
A desk lasts 20 years. A textbook lasts 10 years.

A laptop lasts 3 years if you're lucky, the battery doesn't wear out, the screen doesn't break, and it doesn't get dropped on the floor. All of which happen in business all the time, where you actually have a support budget to cope with such things.

I'm still convinced that in order to teach you need three things: a really good and proficient teacher, a room, and a chalkboard. Even those last two things are optional; one of my favorite college classes took place during a very seasonable spring, and we spent most of our days out on the campus lawn. (The joys of small class sizes.)

I agree that I hope this doesn't end up making Apple look guilty by association.

2005-07-30 16:55:07
Schoold District Saved By The Bell (sic)
If that Georgia school district is lucky, this deal is dead forever!

What in the h@ll were those idiots thinking buy a now hardware platform obsolete iBook anyway??!!! The tax payers and parents should string up the morons in that school districts IT and Budgeting Department.

The K - 12 school district (>52,000 students) I work for (IT Director) bought those POS iBooks in 2003 and they were NOTHING but junk! Of the initial deliver, 18% were sent back for severe failures within 30 days, another 8% went back to Apple within 90 days of contract commencement. A third group of 11% went back within 6 MONTHS!

Failures included: DOA Logic Boards, LCD failures and the infamous WHITE BLOTCHES, battery charger circuit failures, keyboard malfuctions, dead track pads and dead USB ports.

The contract was cancelled 7 months after commencements and the district demanded our money back! There will never be another Apple computer to pass my IT Department's dorrway ever again as this school district.

Under Steve Jobs control, Apple's greed has resulted in the manufacture of CRAP! (Actually the subcontracting of CRAP made in Communist China).

2005-08-07 08:54:20
Apple / Cobb

There may be a silver lining afterall from the hullabaloo over iBooks at Cobb County. Students taking government and civics courses at Cobb County Schools will now have an up-close-and-personal opportunity to see our legal system in action as their school leaders (Joe Redden, Don Beers, Kin Quinn, Kathie Johnstone) and the executives from Apple (Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, Barry Wright) get hauled into court for alleged bid-rigging. It is real-world, relevant and right now...and educational!