Vic Govt selects AMD-based PCs for education contract

Vic Govt selects AMD-based PCs for education contract

Champagne corks are popping at Melbourne PC assembler, Paragon Systems, after it secured the guaranteed component of a Victorian Government tender to supply 4150 PCs between February and June 2004.

Paragon's sales manager, government and education, Tony Tesoriero, said the deal would be worth more than $6 million to the Melbourne-based integrator.

Paragon beat a big field of local and international suppliers to secure the PC portion of a wide-ranging Department of Education and Training (DE&T) tender for PCs, servers, printers, UPSs and network switches.

As this story went to press, ARN was awaiting confirmation of the other components of the $25-30 million tender, but it is understood that Acer won the tender for 1680 servers and ASI won the deal to supply 1660 LAN switches.

"We are delighted to win this PC contract," Tesoriero said. "It has taken many months to get here. The tender process started back in January and was only concluded last Friday when they informed us we were successful. "This is a continuation of Paragon's long-standing relationship with the Victorian Department of Education. We have been supplying the department under contract since 1987."

The appointment of Paragon as the sole supplier for the guaranteed component of the contract is a big win for the local assembly channel community, as the last big contract for PCs went to Taiwanese vendor, Acer.

It is also a big win for AMD who slipped in under the guard of its arch rival with its Athlon processor after it was strongly rumoured that this contract would be won by an Intel configuration.

"This is the first time that the department has gone with an AMD processor," Tesoriero said. "I believe the department based their decision on the criteria of value for money, quality, performance and service in particular."

AMD country manager for Australia, John Robinson, said the deal was the largest AMD has been associated with in the education sector here in Australia. However, he said the company has won larger tenders in government departments, one of which includes the Department of Defence.

Robinson said the government tender document was an interesting one, as most specify Intel processors as part of the requirement. "This tender was written in such as way that there was no reference to processor," he said.

In the past this requirement has prevented AMD from applying for such contracts.

"In terms of government lobbying, I have talked about the virtues of AMD. If the tender specs said 'Intel', that is the end of it [for AMD]. We are now seeing of late a number of government tenders are starting to open up and put out generic tenders [that do not specify processor brands]."

Tesoriero said that contracts would be signed this week and Paragon would begin supplying some pilot sites in "the immediate future".

He said that the company would "definitely" be putting on additional staff as a result of the contract win.

Having moved earlier this year to new 20,000 square feet premises in Oakleigh, Paragon is ready for the expected large amount of flow-on business that will come with the contract win for the initial 4150 systems.

"We think that we will need to employ about 8-10 additional staff," Tesoriero said. "It is not just solely for this particular guaranteed volume but the flow-on business will result in us needing to increase our staff numbers."

(Howard Dahdah contributed to this report.)

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