Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) may not have to wait until November for its Turkey Day. The Mac maker has been trying to score a major iPad order with the Turkish government for several months, related to the Fatih initiative to modernize public education in the country through tablets, among other things. The devices would be part of a broader push to replace traditional blackboards and textbooks in schools.
To that end, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been touring Silicon Valley tech giants in advance of a formal tender process. The leader first stopped by a Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) campus to meet CEO Steve Ballmer to discuss the project. Erdogan also swung by Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ) for a meet-and-greet that included demos of Google Glass and its famous self-driving cars.
The Turkish government is planning on buying upwards of 13.1 million tablets. It would start with a 10.6 million unit order followed by another of 2 million to 2.5 million devices. That would be a massive order for whoever wins it. A batch of 10.6 million iPads would be more than half of Apple's total iPad units last quarter -- in a single order.
Samsung is also reportedly in the running for the tender that's scheduled for later this month. It's unclear if Microsoft is hoping to earn the tablet directly with its Surface or if it's trying to win it through a hardware partner like Samsung. Microsoft has sold a total of 1.8 million Surface units thus far in the two quarters it's been available (including both RT and Pro), so it may not have the experience necessary to produce 10.6 million units. On the other hand, OEM partner Samsung has plenty of notches on its belt, shipping 8.8 million tablets last quarter.
Google is also making a play at the education market with the self-explanatory Google Play for Education that was just unveiled last week at its I/O developer conference. Big G is hoping to grow its presence in the classroom with tablets, starting by bolstering its educational app availability. That's a direct shot at the iPad, since Apple has long had strong roots in education and made a big push last year with digital textbooks.
This Turkey Day in May is up for grabs, and Apple would be quite thankful for a win.
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