Acer knocks Lenovo off $85m Victorian schools deal

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Acer knocks Lenovo off $85m Victorian schools deal

Acer and Apple are sharing in Victorian government education supply deals worth up to $85 million.

The two vendors have both secured 'Notebooks for Teachers and Principals' contracts, worth up to $60 million for Acer to supply Windows devices and $25 million for Apple.

It marks the end of a near-15-year wait for Acer, which had held the account until 2001, when it was knocked out by IBM. The contract novated to Lenovo when Big Blue sold its PC business to the Chinese vendor in 2005 for US$1.25 billion.

The Notebooks for Teachers suppliers were picked from the Victorian whole of government end user computing panel announced in November 2014; Lenovo actually lost its direct position on that $65 million-a-year arrangement after being beaten by its own reseller, Southern Cross Computer Systems.

Acer's contract runs for two years from March 2015 to March 2017, with the potential for three one-year extensions, which would take the value up to $60 million.

A Victorian government spokesperson would not discuss volumes, however, one well-placed source suggested the arrangement catered for roughly 40,000 devices.

It is good news for Acer, which sees education as a key market. Last month, Acer's Pan Asia Pacific president, Oliver Ahrens, told CRN that education tenders were a "very high focus" for the Australian team.

Acer recently scored a place on the $100 million Western Australian whole-of-government end user computing panel.

However, in New South Wales, Acer lost out to Lenovo and HP, which are sharing in a state education spend worth up to $250 million.

Apple's Notebook for Teachers contract is worth up to $25 million over an initial five-year term from April 2015 to April 2020. The contract has the potential for two one-year extensions.

Through the Notebooks for Teachers and Principals program, known as eduSTAR.NTP, "the department leases notebooks for 42-month cycles and gives the notebooks to program participants who contribute towards the costs".

It has been a controversial program, with the Australian Education Union currently suing the Victorian Education department in the Federal Court over the decision to make teachers pay for their own work devices through weekly deductions from their salaries to cover lease repayments.

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