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Thursday, August 18, 2011, 02:11 pm PT (05:11 pm ET)

Apple, Microsoft and Intel to bid on 15 million unit tablet deal

Apple, Microsoft and Intel are considering making a bid for a Turkish government project that would see the winning company build and supply of up to 15 million tablets, over four years, to school children.

Turkish Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan told Anatolia news agency that the three companies are actively engaged in pursuing a bid for this government-funded project, called Fatih (Turkish for conqueror), according to Bloomberg.

Caglayan revealed that negotiations with Apple officials took place during his visit to the U.S. and noted that Apple as part of the deal would considering manufacturing various iPad and iPhone peripherals in Turkey, such as earphones and covers.

Rival companies Microsoft and Intel are also interested in the Fatih project, with Microsoft confirmed to make a visit to Turkey to learn more about this governmental initiative and Intel said to consider opening a research and development center in Turkey.

Another Turkish government official, Industry Minister Nihat Ergun, said, on July 13, that the winning company will have to build the 15 million tablets in Turkey.

Apple is known for outsourcing smartphone, tablet and computer contracts to Asian-based corporations where long-time partners like Foxconn and Pegatron are usually awarded production orders for Apple’s mobile devices. Foxconn is currently producing iPad 2 tablets and the Chinese supplier is also expected to start iOS tablet manufacturing in Brazil next month.