Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Amplify in the dumper. Another Joel Klein/Chris Cerf loser.

Rupert Murdoch and Joel Klein
"A lot of poor quality work passed off as final products, most everything is worked out in production leading to many hot fixes and more long hours. Little respect for teachers or end-users in many within the company.... No, I would not recommend this company to a friend."
-- A 2013 Review from a former Wireless Generation employee
What happened to Amplify? It's a bust. School districts who bought in are screwed. Thanks Joel Klein and Chris Cerf.

Rupert Murcoch's News Corp spent nearly $1 billion on its digital education business, In 2010, they paid $360 million for a 90% stake in Wireless Generation, a company based in Brooklyn that specializes in education software, data systems and assessment tools which was supposed to help teachers analyze student performance and customize lessons.

Once the Murdoch criminal scandal in Europe died down, former N.Y. schools Chancellor Joel Klein led the company’s aggressive push into the U.S. education market and New Jersey schools chief Chris Cerf left his job to become chief executive of Murdoch's Amplify Insight ed tech firm.

Murdoch, Klein and Cerf became the darlings of U.S. corporate school reformers and international criminal Murdoch, whose company is an ALEC supporter, even keynoted Jeb Bush's 2011 Education Summit.

Hundreds of cash-strapped public school districts (including Chicago) were encouraged to fork over hundreds of millions of dollars in no-bid contracts and handed Murdoch's people control of all student records and family information. Amplify, became a top industry seller.

But News Corp. announced today that it would cease actively marketing Amplify’s Access products to new customers. It claims it will continue to provide service and support to its existing customers. But the Company is reviewing strategic alternatives with respect to Amplify’s remaining digital education businesses.

According to The Street:
Known as Amplify, the digital-education unit within Murdoch's News Corp (NWSA - Get Report)  has been hampered by the slow adoption of its mobile device known as the Tablet computer. 
The tablet's future was said to be riding on Amplify's ability to sell the device into districts for the 2015-2016 school year. That effort appears to have fallen short of expectations made five years ago after News Corp, with great fanfare, hired former New York City education commissioner Joel Klein and then paid $360 million for a 90% stake in Amplify's predecessor, Wireless Generation. 
The $1 billion Amplify tablet.
In May, Amplify Chief of Staff Justin Hamilton hinted that such plans might be in the offing when he said that "we will always be responsive to the marketplace."

You might remember Hamilton as Arne Duncan's former press secretary in charge of selling Duncan's Race To The Top. It seems he didn't do any better hustling Amplify.

Says Klein to school districts that bought in -- "Tough luck, suckers."

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