David Ruck comments on RM's decision to pull out of education in Northen IrelandPublished: 13th Jan 11:48:50 | Permalink | Printable
There is a very interesting article in this month's Computer Weekly concerning RM pulling out of the Classroom 2000 contract. This was aimed at putting a computer in every one of Northern Ireland's 1227 schools.
The reason given was that RM could not agree to the penalty clauses which would have cost up to 10% of the £300 million contract. RM have had to write off more than £5m because of the cancellation equating to 1/3 of last year's operating profit.
RM's reluctance to agree to the penalty clause is undoubtedly an admission that there is no way they could provide the levels of support and reliability required, even for this vast sum. The reason being the 50,000 systems they intended to provide were PC's running Windows 2000. A heavy weight, bloated and over complicated system, running on cheap inadequate hardware, which has proved to be entirely unsuitable for classroom use.
This is causing a great embarrassment to both RM and the government. But the problem can wholly be laid at the government's door, due to their blinked refusal to consider a solution based on proven British technology.
There would not have been any such problem with a contract to provide RISC OS based systems, which are renowned in education for their low total cost of ownership. Typically less than 1/10th of that of a PC system, due to their unparalleled reliability and ease of use.
Do you agree with David's comments? Has the government been blinkered towards contracting a British firm utilising technology developed in the US? Where does this leave RM, a stalwart of British educational computing? Do RISCOS Ltd., has a chance to penetrate the market lost by RM?
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