Brazil: Positivo-Intel Classmate Has (Not Yet) Won Student Laptop Auction


Surf City Cidade de Deus: Brazilian tadinhos had been impatient with the stalled progress of digital inclusion (above), but sales of decent, cheap computers are projected to pull even with, or possibly surpass, sales of boob tubes this year.

“Intel applauds the government’s initiative in choosing a platform developed by a visionary corporation that believes that one computer per student brings significant changes to the pedagogical model.”

The gizmo has not, according to the latest reports, been officially chosen yet.

Pregão para escolha do laptop popular está ‘congelado’:

Electronic auction for [One Laptop Per Student program] is ‘frozen’

G1/Globo (Brazil) reports.

The Estado de S. Paulo reports, meanwhile, that the Positivo-Intel Classmate is “close to winning” the competition over the OLPC XO model.

The marmita de conhecimento reportedly had the low bid, but the bid was still above the ceiling set by the government for the program. And there is another condition, reports the Gazeta Mercantil — whose headline is something like “Positivo Wins!”

Além da negociação, a Positivo Informática ainda deve fazer nesta semana os chamados ‘testes de aderência’ com dez unidades da máquina. O objetivo é comprovar se os computadores da empresa atendem as especificações exigidas.

Besides [negotiating a lower price], Positivo will also have to submit ten units for “compliance testing” this week, to prove the company’s product meets the required specifications. 

in demotic New World Portuguese means something like “shame on you” or “fie.”

Shades of the (apocryphal) Chevrolet branding disaster in Mexico, where the Nova model (the story, I believe I understand, is totally apocryphal) was supposedly understood by Spanish-speaking consumers as “no va” — “It doesn’t work.”

See also

O pregoeiro responsável pelo pregão eletrônico que vai definir o laptop popular do projeto Um Computador por Aluno (UCA) anunciou, às 10h03 desta quinta-feira (20), que o pregão encerrado na quarta-feira continuaria suspenso. A retomada das negociações estava prevista para as 9h30 desta quinta.

The auctioneer responsible for the electronic auction to select the winning candidate for the One Laptop Per Student program announced at 10:03 am this morning that the auction suspended on Wednesday will remain suspended. The resumption of bidding was scheduled for 9:30 am today.

And why was that? G1 does not say. Did it bother to ask?

The Estadão:

Com o Classmate, criado pela Intel, a Positivo Informática apresentou o menor preço no pregão eletrônico para a compra de 150 mil laptops para estudantes de escolas públicas. Na concorrência iniciada na terça-feira pelo Fundo Nacional de Desenvolvimento da Educação, do Ministério da Educação, o lance da empresa foi de R$ 98,18 milhões, o que representa R$ 654 por máquina, o mais baixo entre os oito concorrentes.

With the Classmate, created by Intel, Positivo presented the lowest price in the bidding on a contract for 150,000 laptops for students in public schools. In the competition initiated on Tuesday by the Education Ministry’s National Educational Development Fund, Positivo’s bid was R$98.18 million, or about about R$654 ($365) per machine, the lowest among the eight competitors.

There were eight competitors?

This is news to me.

Did the auction start Tuesday or Wednesday, anyway?

Mesmo assim, a empresa ainda não venceu o pregão, porque seu preço ficou acima do esperado pelo governo. “Uma vez encerrada a etapa de lances e observado que o menor valor ofertado ainda encontra-se muito superior ao orçado pela administração, convocamos essa empresa (Positivo), observada a ordem de classificação da disputa, a ofertar melhor preço que viabilize a aquisição objeto desta licitação”, escreveu ontem o pregoeiro. Como não houve uma manifestação da Positivo até o fim da tarde de ontem, o processo será retomado hoje pela manhã. Se o governo não ficar satisfeito com o novo lance da Positivo, pode marcar um novo pregão.

Even so, the company has still not won the contract, because its price is still higher than the government expected. “Given that the bidding is over and it is observed that the lowest bid is still much higher than the government budgeted, we invite this firm (Positivo) … to offer a better price that would make the acquisition of [the gizmo] possible,” the auctioneer wrote yesterday. Given that Positivo had not expressed itself on the subject by yesterday afternoon, the process will resume on Thursday. If the government is not satisfied with Positivo’s bid, a new auction may be scheduled.

O preço do laptop inclui a entrega da máquina em cerca de 300 escolas de todo o País e três anos de garantia. No começo do mês, o assessor especial da Presidência da República, Cezar Alvarez, havia dito que o governo esperava pagar menos de US$ 300 por laptop – o equivalente a R$ 540. Em segundo lugar, ficou a Digibrás, do grupo CCE, com lance de R$ 98,8 milhões, ou R$ 659 por computador. Em terceiro, veio a Simm, representante no Brasil da organização sem fins lucrativos One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), criadora do computador XO. A proposta da Simm somou R$ 104,595 milhões, o que corresponde a R$ 697 por laptop.

The price includes the delivery of the machine to nearly 300 schools throughout Brazil and a three-year warranty. Early this month, special presidential adviser Alvarez had said the government expected to pay less than US$300 per laptop — about R$540. In second place was Digibrás, with a bid of R$98.8 million, or R$659 per computer. In third was Simm, the Brazilian representative of the OLPC program, creater of the XO. Its bid was about R$104.6 million, or R$697 per laptop.

Now Simm, as a company name, is good Lusophone branding. Sim means “yes.”

Apesar de esperada, a Encore Tecnologia do Brasil, joint venture indiano-brasileira, não participou do pregão. Ela fabrica o Mobilis, que foi testado pelo governo. “O edital não previa opções tecnológicas”, disse Jakson Sosa, presidente da Encore do Brasil. “Achei que pagaram caro sem ter a melhor qualidade de produto.”

Contrary to expectations, Encore do Brasil, an Indo-Brazilian “joint venture,” did not take part in the auction. It manufactures the Mobilis, which was tested by the government. “The specifications did not provide for technological options,” said Jakson Sosa, president of Encore do Brasil. “I though they paid a lot without getting the best-quality product.”

O Mobilis tinha algumas diferenças de configuração em relação ao edital. Apesar de ter, por exemplo, tela sensível ao toque, recepção de TV aberta, disco rígido de 30 megabytes, não tem câmera embutida, como pedido. “Tínhamos um custo muito mais competitivo, de R$ 626 por equipamento”, disse Sosa, acrescentando que pretende atender ao mercado privado e a escolas públicas com apoio de fundações de operadoras de telecomunicações. Depois do carnaval, a Encore planeja oferecer o Mobilis no varejo, para consumidores finais.

The Mobilis has some differences in configuration from the specifications used in the auction. Though it has a touchscreen, a broadcast TV receiver, and a 30-megabyte hard drive, it does not have an embedded camera, as requested. “We have a very competitive price, at $R626 per unit,” said Sosa, adding that he intends to supply the private market and public schools through the charitable foundations of telecommunications companies.

Any telecoms in particular?

After Carnaval, Encore plans to offer the Mobilis in the retail market, for individual users.

Em nota, a Intel comemorou o fato de a Positivo ter apresentado o melhor lance: “A Intel aplaude a iniciativa do governo em escolher uma plataforma desenvolvida por uma empresa visionária que acredita que um computador por aluno traz mudanças significativas no modelo pedagógico”. Os equipamentos terão isenção de ICMS, PIS, Cofins e imposto de importação. A expectativa é que as máquinas estejam disponíveis entre março e abril de 2008.

In a press release, Intel celebrated the fact that Positivo had the low bid. “Intel applauds the government’s initiative in choosing a platform developed by a visionary corporation that believes that one computer per student brings significant changes to the pedagogical model.” The equipment will be exempt from [various really annoying taxes] and import duties. The machines are expected to be available between March and April 2008.

Did we not just read that the government has not chosen the platform yet?

Intel has released its release prematurely?

And the Estadão has obligingly run it?

Being a visionary company apparently means that if you wish hard enough, your dreams will magically come true.

It reminds me of a bit of lawyer humor a friend of mine passes along: the slight absurdity of signing your lawyerly letters, “Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.”

And the other 6 bidders?

Do we not even get to know their names?

Meanwhile, G1 reports that ZDNet reports, Nicholas Negroponte defends the announcement of a version of Windows for the XO, originally designed as a (very, very small) Linux box.

Negroponte reagiu às críticas recebidas após ser divulgado que a Microsoft está desenvolvendo uma versão do Windows para o computador, conhecida popularmente como “laptop de US$ 100”.

Negroponte reacted to criticisms received after it was announced that Microsoft is developing a version of Windows for the computer, popularly known as “the $100 laptop.”

Criticism from whom?

“Seria difícil para a organização dizer que é aberta e se fechar à Microsoft. Aberta quer dizer aberta”, disse Negroponte, de acordo com o site de tecnologia “ZDNet”.

“It world be hard for the organization to say that it is open and close itself to Microsoft. Open means open,” said Negroponte, according to ZDNet.

Open means open-source, I always thought.

But then again, as Led Zeppelin says, “You know sometimes words have two meanings.”

At least two. [Solo wildly while jiggling the whammy-bar.]

Segundo o responsável pelo projeto de inclusão digital, o anúncio da gigante dos softwares representa o desenvolvimento de uma colaboração de longa data entre o projeto e a Microsoft. Ele afirmou que a possibilidade de o XO rodar o sistema operacional Windows não tem apenas o consentimento da organização, mas também sua colaboração.

According to the man responsible for the digital inclusion project, the software giant’s announcement represents the evolution of a longstanding collaboration between the project and Microsoft. He said the possibility of the XO running the Windows OS not only has the organization’s consent, but also its cooperation.

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