Friday, June 15, 2012

Hillary Clinton, Jeff Bezos to announce Kindle Mobile Learning Initiative at State Department next Wednesday

PaidContent reports that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Amazon's Jeff Bezos will jointly announce the launch of the Kindle Mobile Learning Initiative on Wednesday, June 20th at 11 a.m. Eastern time at the State Department in Washington, DC. From the State Department's press release: "This public-private partnership with Amazon.com and the U.S. government will create a global e-reader program that introduces aspects of U.S. society and culture directly to young people, students, and international audiences in new ways and expands English language learning opportunities worldwide."

That explains the no-bid contract for eReaders and content that the State Department is proposing to give to Amazon. The first year of the contract calls for purchases of 2,500 Kindles and multiple copies of 50 titles for a total of $2.29 million. The contract would be renewable on a year-to-year basis for four more years, for a maximum cost of $16.5 million with up to 7,000 additional Kindles purchased per year. The State Department has already purchased 6,000 Kindles under a separate contract.

PaidContent editor Laura Hazard Owen spoke with State Department spokesperson Phillipe Reines, who told her that even though a press conference and announcement are scheduled for Wednesday, there's "still no deal" with Amazon for the eReaders and content. Reines reminded Owen that the State Department already has 6,000 Kindles. However, as Owen puts it, that seems like a distinction without a difference. Why would the State Department schedule a press event with Amazon if the contract for the eReaders and content isn't already a done deal?

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