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Tuesday, March 21, 2006, 03:00 pm PT (06:00 pm ET)

Apple secures large-scale Maine laptop contract

For the second time this year, Apple Computer has won a significant contract for the large-scale deployment of laptops, this time in the state of Maine, MacNN reports.

According to the report, Apple has been selected as the top-scoring bidder for services and equipment for a four-year, 36,000 laptop Maine Learning Technology Initiative, following a request for proposals on January 13th, 2006.

Apple will provide "portable computing devices with suitable basic applications" for all middle school students and teachers, along with upgraded wireless networks for all participating schools, appropriate server capacity, training and technical support, the report says.

Earlier this year, Apple was chosen to supply Henrico County's middle school students with laptops, despite a lower bid from Dell — a deal involving nearly 13,000 laptops for $15.8 million.

"This award is a final decision, subject to State Purchases Review Committee approval and final legislative approval of the Department's budget," said representatives from the State of Maine. The State will now enter into negotiations with Apple in order to finalize the terms and conditions of the agreement for Apple's services and equipment.

Under the current timelines and subject to final legislative approval of the department's budget, the Department said that it plans to deploy new laptop computers to teachers, librarians, principals and technology coordinators in the summer of 2006 to begin preparing for the upcoming 2006-7 school year, according to MacNN. New laptop computers for all grade 7 and 8 public middle school students will reportedly be issued at the start of the school year.

Overall, the contract will be for an estimated 36,000 laptops.