Melbourne-based interactive content publisher XSIQ has signed a bundling agreement with Acer for a dual attack on the Australian and New Zealand education markets. The deal will see XSIQ numeracy, literacy and science software packages installed on Acer PCs, laptops and servers to be targeted at state educational boards and individual schools.
“This approach is unique within the market and allows both companies to sell more of a solution instead of just a hardware or software product,” XSIQ CEO, Andrew Beveridge, said. “Acer has experienced phenomenal growth in education during recent years and this agreement will allow it to consolidate that position by offering more than just a price point.”
Acer’s national sales manager for education and government, Mike Cefai, said the XSIQ products were a good value-add. “There seems to be a big move towards curriculum-based software and we are already seeing interest from private schools and some departments,” he said. “You need a differentiator in the education market and this software will give us a big advantage.”
Cefai expected sales orders to start rolling in around Easter.
He said Acer would distribute the bundles through a select team of more than 20 education resellers across Australia. There had also been interest expressed in the bundle by Acer UK and Acer US. XSIQ has been selling its wares to the Australian market since 1999 and has software running in 140 Australian schools. “We have mostly sold to individual schools so far but the state market is beginning to take off,” Beveridge said.
It also has a bundling agreement with Microsoft for its Class Server learning management system that has seen 2000 evaluation kits dispatched to schools, school districts and state education departments throughout America.
Last week, a Microsoft curriculum delivery kit was launched in the UK featuring its Class Server platform, Acer hardware and XSIQ software content. “It has been very hard creating brand and product awareness during the past three years but the [education] market is becoming sophisticated enough to start taking this [type of bundling deal] on.
“The UK government recently allocated $303 million to be spent on interactive curriculum software this year because it realises the need for total solutions rather than simply providing hardware.” XSIQ is currently owned by ASX-listed electronic media services outfit AAV but a memorandum of understanding for its sale to external investors has been issued and the deal is expected to be completed imminently. Details of the sale are unavailable until completion.
“[The buyout] allows us to extend our software content and gives resellers new avenues into market,” Beveridge said. “We currently focus on mapping curriculum frameworks for years 4-12 but we want to reach back into junior years and forward into English-based programs for adult education in countries where English is not the first language.”