Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook could soon close a $4 billion iPad deal with Turkey, as the nation looks to replace traditional blackboards and textbooks with tablets, a Turkish daily newspaper said Tuesday.
Cook will travel to Turkey in February to try to convince Turkish officials that Apple’s tablet is the best tool to kick-start the country’s new education initiative known as the Fatih project, according to benzinga.com.
The initiative, carried out by the Ministry of Education and Transportation, aims to improve education through technology in all 620,000 Turkish classes over a five-year period.
Part of Apple’s strategy is to reach markets outside of the developed world. With a population of 80 million and a strong growing middle class, Turkey is seen as a prime target.
“We wanted to see the latest developments in the information technology sector before we launched the Fatih bid by visiting the Silicon Valley because we plan to realize a similar project in Istanbul,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during his State visit to the U.S. in May.
“Our first aim is to produce 10.6 million tablets as part of the Fatih project, which will be followed by the production of 2 million to 2.5 million tablets.”
Apple has so far denied reports that Cook is closing the deal. The mobile tech giant has some competition. Reports are that other big name tech companies like Samsung and two Turkish companies -- Arçelik and Vestel -- will also make bids. Apple, as well as the other bidders, would have to guarantee that service stations would be established in all seven regions of Turkey.
Apple already has some experience with the educational market. In June, the company signed a $30 million deal with Los Angeles’ School Board of Education, which happens to be the second-largest school system in the U.S., a big selling point for Cook when he talks with Turkish leaders.