The capital of Wisconsin is buying a total of 1400 Apple iPads units from money won in a settlement against Microsoft
. This spring, Madison will buy 600 of the tablets with the remaining 800 scheduled for purchase this fall. In the case that brought the money used to buy the devices, the state argued that Microsoft had overcharged customers for software and the Redmond based firm ended up agreeing to pay the state $80 million. Of that total, $3.4 million is being used by the entire state to buy the tablets from Apple. The district of Madison is paying an average price of $479, which includes an educational discount. Bill Smojver, Madison's director of technical services for the school district, says that the new iPads
will enable students to wirelessly share their work and enable schools
to replace textbooks with digital textbooks which he calls a "significant development
". The announcement of the purchase comes days after Apple inroduced its iBooks 2
as an attempt to re-invent the textbook.
While Wisconsin schools are being allowed to spend the settlement money on technology ranging from iPads to laptops or other items, it seems the Madison School Board was impressed with the results of a study in Chicago which found that students using an Apple iPad were more "engaged" in the classroom
instead of getting engaged outside of the classroom. Technology consultant Naomi Harm says her firm has worked with more than 50 school districts in Wisconsin on using the iPad in the classroom.
The state was part of a lawsuit against Microsoft that claimed the company used its monopoly position to hurt the competition. At the time of the suit, which was 1998, those competitors included Netscape. Class Action suits followed and Apple tried to get the claims dismissed in a number of them. At the end of the day, the company paid 17 states to settle the suit.