Related link: http://www.wsbtv.com/news/5071215/detail.html
Since it’s dropped off the radar of most Mac news sites, here’s an update on the proposed Cobb County, Georgia iBook program: a grand jury has convened to determine if the $100 million contract was illegally granted to Apple. This is an extremely unusual development, as the use of special grand juries in educational issues in Georgia is rare, and moreover, seemingly no one is claiming any illegal behavior in the bidding process.
There are two separate issues in this controversy. The first is whether the bidding process unfairly favored Apple. That’s what the grand jury is investigating. But that’s not what scuttled the plan: what brought it down was that it was to be paid for by a voter-approved SPLOST (Special-Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) that was sold to the voters as a general-purpose educational technology and infrastructure upgrade. Taxpayers balked at the idea that it would instead be used to pay for laptops to be used by students: many didn’t believe assurances that the computers could be kept safe, functioning, and easily replaced, while others got into a predictable and short-sighted “use Windows because that’s what businesses use” snit. They sued the county - represented by an ex-Governor, no less - and a court issued an injunction against continuing the program. At that point, the county abandoned the program, regardless of the suit’s outcome.
Curiously, you can still find Apple’s news release announcing its selection as the supplier for the program. Memo to Apple: it is long since time to begin the cover-up and pretend that this never happened. Y’know, like OpenDoc.
C’mon, shoot the messenger!