HP and Lenovo score $250m NSW Education bonanza

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HP and Lenovo score $250m NSW Education bonanza

HP and Lenovo will share in a $250 million desktop, notebook and tablet contract for the NSW Department of Education & Communities (DEC).

Each PC maker has secured a $125 million deal with DEC, set to run until the end of 2017, with the option of two one-year extensions.

The supply panel spans 2,200 NSW public schools with 750,000 students, plus 130 TAFE campuses across NSW with 500,000 students. Public schools must buy from the panel, though TAFEs have discretion to purchase from other state contract suppliers.

The announcement completes a process that has been running for several months as the Education department sought to select a preferred supplier from the wider ICT Hardware Agreement for the NSW Government, which commenced in mid-2013 and counts Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Pioneer Computers and Samsung as approved suppliers.

The appointment of HP and Lenovo follows protracted negotiations. Speaking to CRN in late January, a DEC spokesperson said the department was negotiating with two suppliers and was anticipating having a contract in place by 1 March.

DEC's decision to share the work between HP and Lenovo is not completely unexpected. Earlier this year, a departmental spokesperson told CRN: "The objective of the RFQ was to select a principal supplier to provide desktop, notebook and tablet computers to the department. The department has the option to engage a second supplier."

According to the spokesperson, the department’s previous panel contract was with Lenovo, Acer and Optima Technology Solutions, the local white box builder that went under in 2008.

The win for HP and Lenovo will no doubt come as a blow to Acer and to Pioneer, both of which were in the frame as members of the NSW whole of government panel and hence would have been on the shortlist for the education deal.

Back in 2008, Pioneer, which is the only local supplier on the NSW whole of government ICT panel, had looked to support Optima's government clients when the company folded.

Acer has long been a leading supplier to Australian education customers; the Taiwanese vendor was recently announced as a supplier to the Western Australian government's $100 million ICT hardware panel. Speaking to CRN at its recent press event in New York, Acer's pan-Asia Pacific president Oliver Ahrens pointed to education tenders as a primary focus.

It is unclear whether there is any scope for resellers to share in the HP and Lenovo work. We have reached out to DEC, HP and Lenovo and will update the story if we hear back.

One well-placed source suggested to CRN that the tight pricing of the DEC contract meant it was unlikely that the channel would get a look-in.

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