See Update below:
Tony Lee reports at breitbart.com:
The State Department will spend $16.5 million on 2,500 Kindle e-book readers from Amazon, which amounts to a whopping $6,600 per Kindle device that retails for $189.
According to NextGov, "Kindles were seen as the only appropriate devices for this contract, which was not opened for competitive bidding" and the State Department will use the Kindles to "aid those seeking to study English and learn about America."
Other devices, such as Barnes and Noble's Nook, Sony's Reader Daily and Kobe e-Reader and Apple's iPad "were unsuitable" due to various reasons such as low-quality "text-to-speech" functions, battery life, and Wi-Fi connectivity, according to the government document Nextgov.com examined.
The State Department, after much outrage, immediately issued a hazy statement that said the $16.5 million figure was the upper limit of what it could spend over the course of the contract.
No wonder the private sector is doing "just fine" under President Obama.
Update: As it turns out, NextGov just pretty much retracted its story and issued a mea culpa. Here's what it now says:
State is willing to guarantee approximately $2.3 million in the first year for at least 2,500 Kindles and content, the spokesman said. It is waiting for Amazon to come back with a proposal for further negotiations.
The price per unit is currently being worked out. It is expected to be in the ballpark of a recent pilot program where State purchased 6,000 Kindles for $980,000 for educational and e-diplomacy purposes, which works out roughly to a cost of $163 for each device.
"State has not and will not spend even a penny more than retail prices," said Philippe Reines, spokesman for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
My apologies too to H&R readers.