Turkish government project lures tech giants Microsoft
Turkish Science Minister Nihat Ergün (inset, R) and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (inset, L) discussed the government’s Fatih project, which includes the delivery of 15 million tablets to students along with developing proper software. AA photoMicrosoft is eager to take part in Fatih, Turkey’s tablet education project, and determined to establish a research and development center in Turkey, Turkish Science and Technology Minister Nihat Ergün has said following a meeting with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
“Microsoft declared its willingness to cooperate with local solution partners and insisted that it’s determined to found a research center in Turkey,” the minister said. Ballmer met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Feb. 22 before meeting with Ergün the following morning.
The Turkish government plans to replace traditional blackboards and textbooks in schools with electronic boards and tablet PCs as a part of the Fatih project in order to merge education with innovative information technologies and radically transform the perception of education.
Within the project, the government will purchase approximately 15 million tablets for students, administrative employees and teachers in the first stage under the Public Tenders Law, which would make any technology player’s mouth water.
Apple is the other top contestant in the public tender for the project as the issue, reportedly, was the focus of discussion during Turkish President Abdullah Gül’s meeting with Apple executive John Couch on Feb. 1.
The government stipulates some conditions for selecting bidders for the project as it also looks to lend impetus to local research and development projects through this project.
“The production of tablets should be in Turkey and the producer company should establish a research and development center within the borders of Turkey,” the technology minister said, adding that the government also thought it important that applications be developed with open source software so the codes could be available to the public.
“The companies that can meet these conditions have the opportunity to take part in the project,” he said.
This education market project tempts technology giants in multiple ways. In the short-term, since the number of tablets is prominently high, the amount of cash set to be handed over in the first stage whets even the appetite of large global companies. Moreover, the project promises sustainable demand opportunity, which makes the high-amount of cash a routine income. Finally, the advantage to be able to boost the market share by forming a brand loyalty among Turkish youth, which totals 80 million in Turkey, makes the project an alluring one.