Company accused of enjoying unfair advantages at bidding

Company accused of enjoying unfair advantages at bidding

Nuriye Doğu ISTANBUL - Radikal
Company accused of enjoying unfair advantages at bidding

Turan Erdoğan, a Vestel executive presents his company’s smart board for schools during a technology fair earlier this year. Vestel aims to undertake a government project to put such boards at 40,000 schools. Hürriyet photo

Company that unsuccessfully bid for a “smart board” tablet computer issued by the Education Ministry has alleged the winner of the auction, Turkish electronics manufacturer Vestel, enjoyed unfair advantages at the auction.

Vestel is accused of receiving a patent for its product before the auction date, thereby gaining an unfair advantage over other bidders.

One of the competitors has already lodged a formal complaint with the Public Procurement Authority (KİK), daily Radikal has learned.

The Education Ministry held an auction for the $8 billion giant “smart board” project Nov. 23. According to the claim, Vestel could have been privy to the terms and conditions of the auction before they were actually announced to all the bidders.

According to the claim, Vestel designed a smart board that was in line with the Ministry of Education’s specifications and received a patent for its product from the Turkish Patent Institute (TPE) Sept. 1, 27 days prior to the actual auction announcement.

Vestel denies inquiries
On the auction day, Vestel offered the lowest bid at 339.6 million lira for 84,921 smart boards and still won the bid blocking entry for other bidders since its smart board already met the Ministry of Education’s required specifications.

Another claim is one of the four Vestel smart board designers is the Education Ministry’s Technology Assistant Manager Tunay Alkan. According to the TPE website, the patent, which belonged to Vestel from Sept. 1 to 12, belonged to the ministry after Sept. 12.

Vestel has refused to respond to inquiries by Radikal, saying it is awaiting both the auction results and the KİK’s decision.

Meanwhile, the company that lodged the complaint plans to take the case to court if it does not receive a response from the KİK in one month’s time.

The smart board project is part of the broader Movement to Increase Opportunities and Technology (FATİH) “Smart Class” project, which aims to distribute tablet computers to school children for free.

IT giants to get on board the TABLET project

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News


Ericsson and Research in Motion (RIM) have shown interest in joining General Mobile and Apple to become the two new players in Turkey’s Movement of Enhancing Opportunities and Improving Technology (FATIH) project.

FATIH will be launched in all schools across the country, bringing “smart classrooms” with high levels of technology.

Nearly 600,000 classrooms in 40,000 schools will be equipped with IT resources, including personal tablets, e-books and smart classrooms bringing computerized education. About 15 million students will be equipped with tablet computers as part of the project.

“After the tablets and computer equipment have been secured, we want to be part of the process of putting together both the equipment’s infrastructure and the schools’ communications infrastructure,” said Cenk Alper, Ericsson Turkey’s assistant general manager, according to daily Dünya. Alper said Ericsson was currently involved in a similar project in Jamaica.

RIM’s Chair Mike Lazaridis also praised the FATIH project and was enthusiastic about taking part. “I was very impressed with the FATIH project’s vision and with this project’s investment in education, which will secure future innovation,” Lazaridis told daily Sabah.

Lazardis also said Turkey was a strategic priority for RIM’s growth and success.