St. Paul schools get refund from Dell on failed tablet program; buying iPads

But the district and Dell, its partner in the project, have failed to develop a customized platform that could serve students and teachers “directly enough or quickly enough,” Silva said. That work has been halted — with Dell agreeing to refund the $665,000 it has been paid in the form of future technology upgrades.

This happened a couple of weeks ago, but I’m just getting caught up. Just horrible for Dell. Hopefully other school districts will learn a lesson from this.



  • Moeskido

    Many school district administrators won’t learn anything from this, not having been chosen for their intellectual capacity in the first place.

    • EzraWard

      Dell refunded them by giving the district credit for future technology upgrades.

      • Moeskido

        Well, they didn’t have to sacrifice very much, then. Too bad.

  • lucascott

    Important lesson here. Don’t sell something you don’t have.

    • Mother Hydra

      A large chunk of enterprise IT is premised on making promises over vaporware and patching up to acceptable.

      • Moeskido

        Sounds like IBM’s last ten years.

  • Mother Hydra

    I’m curious if this was their disastrous venue tablet (couldn’t tell from the article)? Dell came a-callin’ to work and brought one of those little pieces of shit trying to angle it as an iPad killer. I think we all had a good 10 minute laugh as it was passed around and scoffed at before being promptly shoved back into the Dell guy’s bag. Embarrassingly inadequate and clunky, it instantly reminded me of the mid 90′s tablet PCs, with a charm and charisma reminiscent of an aged Hippopotamus. Needless to say they dropped a few slides from their presentation because it probably talked up that stupid Venue Pro whatever. Making pie in the sky promises that they can’t deliver on is kinda Dell’s thing, at least in the enterprise. You’d be shocked how different folks (engineers, mind you) will tell you often contradictory information all in an attempt to get you into their platform (their craptastic EMC storage comes to mind). We had a CTO threaten to put the wheels down and roll those cabinets next to the dumpster if we didn’t get cross-graded to EqualLogic (an outside storage company Dell gobbled up). And THAT is also funny because Dell is known for having nice rail kits, zero screws, easy install. You’d think these nice kits would go with their newly-aquired SAN (the EqualLogic) but NOOOOO. Took em almost two years to ship us decent rails and we sent one of our drive drawers back because the rail failed dropping the heavy, harddrive-laden drawer to the ground as silver bearings simultaneously shot in all directions. So I guess I’m trying to say Dell doesn’t always know what Dell is doing, hi-jinks always ensue. I could go on about the week-long ordeal I endured when trying to switch out the robot picker-arm for our tape library. How do you send the wrong service parts when it all gets tied back to the serial number and agreement? Well, apparently Dell exceeds customer expectations in this area too. Damn, I need a drink.

    • Moeskido

      You have my serious sympathy.

  • EzraWard

    So they couldn’t get a website up fast enough and integrated with their current systems, and they just up and decided to purchase/lease iPads? Looks like they have more money than sense. The two objects, the website and iPads, are in completely different categories. Sounds like they should just save their money and take a while and evaluate what the needs of the district are before buying a bunch of stuff.

    • EzraWard

      Oh, and as an addendum, from basic research I can see it’s not a failed tablet program although some type of devices were in the works to be purchased or used by the students(I haven’t seen from whom). They simply couldn’t get their web-based platform up and running, so they backtracked and decided to buy iPads. Weird.

    • Moeskido

      Sometimes the money disappears if you don’t spend it before a deadline.

      • EzraWard

        True.