Apple’s vice president of education John Couch met with Turkish government officials last month to discuss the possibility of bringing iPads into local education, only for new reports to suggest Microsoft is vying for the same contract.
NuWire Investor reports that Turkey’s science and technology minister Nihat Ergun has said that Microsoft is “beating on Turkey’s door” to be part of the country’s Fatih project — a scheme which aims to bring tablets to 15 million to students.
Ergun says that Microsoft has promised to set up a research and development center in the country, should it get the tablet contract, and it has been reported that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on February 22. Ballmer is said to have met with Ergun a day later.
Turkey has one of the world’s fastest growing economies and has set some bold targets when it comes to getting tablets into education. The country’s government promised to bring tablets to school children at its inauguration in November 2010 and went onto introduce the Fatih project.
The country has since been in contact with a number of budget Android vendors and was at one stage in talks with Datawind, maker of India’s $3 Aakash tablet, before holding talks with Apple and Microsoft.
For these two computing giants however, there is one caveat to Turkey’s tablet contract — the devices themselves must be made in the country.
“The production of tablets should be in Turkey and the producer company should establish a research and development centre within the borders of Turkey,” said Ergun.
“The companies that can meet these conditions have the opportunity to take part in the project.”