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IBM Suspended From US Federal Contracts 136

theodp writes "IBM has been temporarily banned from receiving future contracts with federal agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed on Monday. The suspension went into effect last Thursday due to 'concerns raised about potential activities involving an EPA procurement,' the agency said in an e-mailed statement. Under a reciprocal agreement among federal agencies, when one issues a ban, the others follow it. The EPA said it will not comment further on the matter. An IBM spokesman said he had no immediate comment. 'You don't see this very often, particularly for large companies,' commented a stunned industry analyst, mentioning a bankrupt MCI as a notable exception. IBM earned an estimated $1.5 billion in revenue from federal prime contracts in fiscal 2007."
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IBM Suspended From US Federal Contracts

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  • by Jherico ( 39763 )
    I don't get it.
    • by rwven ( 663186 )
      My guess is: 04/01

      Except that there are a lot of supporting links. Hmmm. Sucks bigtime if It's true though. Hopefully the "temporary" is as "temporary" as it can be.
      • by tm2b ( 42473 )
        Why does it suck?

        For IBM, sure. For taxpayers ... not so much. IBM is an expensive trainwreck-for-hire when it comes to actually delivering on its contracts.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I work for the professional services arm of one of IBM's direct competitors.

          Trust me - they are all trainwrecks-for-hire.
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        CNN had the news yesterday, it's real.

        Basically, the EPA thinks IBM ripped it off some way or another.
      • I thought it was 4/1, too. But the Yahoo link appears legit.
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Funny)

      by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @03:32AM (#22928660) Homepage Journal

      Apparently, Slashdot is skipping April Fools this year, along with the rest of the U.S. Details later today, hopefully.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Artuir ( 1226648 )
        Won't someone please think of the ponies? :(
      • It's the other way around, actually. With the elections heating up, the only 'normal' day in 2k8 is 04/01.
        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          Well, it's April 2nd in the U.S. anyway. Just in case they don't run the story, here's a link [] to the Firehose entry.

      • Nope, they are not skipping it. For those who have ads blocked, you are missing it, but I think the ad about "quality russian dating service" is not fully serious.
        • It aint that important.

          The first thing I saw when I unblocked ads was a long animated banner for something called "Splunk".
          The second thing I saw was myself re-enabling ABP pronto.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Okay, I think I've figured it out.

      The gag this year is that they're only posting real stories, that sound so ridiculous that we assume they're jokes! ...that's lame and depressing at the same time. Way to go, slashdot. :|
    • by VON-MAN ( 621853 )
      If I were IBM I'd have a very good look at _how_ this decision came to be. The timing is just so _perfect_, and the impact will resonate in the IT press the next weeks. And we'll wonder what happened to that other story of the big IT player who is so good at influencing official decision making. Microsoft will have ammunition for years to come to spin any story it's own way by comparing itself to IBM. Also, what kind of organization is the EPA under Bush? Chock full of people who only think of the environme
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jgalun ( 8930 )
        That's absurd - this has nothing to do with Microsoft, because Microsoft is not a player in federal government IT consulting. The major players are IBM, Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, etc. Microsoft has nothing to do with this.

        What I suspect is that EPA blew a whistle without realizing that - due to this agreement in place between federal agencies - it would cut IBM out of new federal work altogether. That's almost certainly overkill - no one wants to take one of the major players out of the game just beca
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @08:03AM (#22929554)
      So, what appallingly illegal and unconstitutional thing did the government ask IBM to do?

    •       They apparently missed their payments, and you know the ones I'm talking about.
  • The links in the article look legit...

    Is this the day of actual stories that look like April fools stories but aren't, or am I still too dense?
  • No Joke? (Score:5, Informative)

    by EyeMyke ( 683581 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @03:33AM (#22928664)
    I don't think this is a Apr 1 joke... [] Unless it's a really elaborate .gov joke...
  • Tags (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DTemp ( 1086779 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @03:37AM (#22928674)
    Lots of slashdotters bitch about tags. But today, tags are your friend. Today, I'm looking for the tags omgponies and aprilfools to know if stories are hoaxes, and !omgponies and !aprilfools to know if they are real.

    Now, this story was just tagged !omgponies, but that tag is gone now. Ugh.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sigh, tagged "still!omgponies"
  • What good is April Fool's Day on /. if we're just going to get real articles?

    I'll take my prank-hungry business elsewhere, thank you very much.
  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @03:40AM (#22928686) Homepage Journal
    Just do a search in Google news for IBM and you'll find the story. Looks legit to me, although the Register clearly has an April Fools story that Robert Scobe is an IBM construction with 1TB of memory.
    • Looks legit to me, although the Register clearly has an April Fools story that Robert Scobe is an IBM construction with 1TB of memory.

      I wouldn't be so... nah. Too easy.
    • Just do a search in Google news for IBM and you'll find the story. Looks legit to me, although the Register clearly has an April Fools story that Robert Scobe is an IBM construction with 1TB of memory.

      Just think what you could do with a beowulf cluster of those...

  • great...i get subcontracted a lot of their fed. work. =(

    Anyone want to offer me a new job?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Gertlex ( 722812 )

      Anyone want to offer me a new job?
      Find me new confusing April 1st stories.

      Or if you're a haxxor, fix slashdot. I want my pink ponies!

  • Hrm.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Misanthrope ( 49269 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @04:21AM (#22928808)
    Nobody ever got fired for......
    Well crap.
  • by pdcull ( 469825 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @04:33AM (#22928840) Homepage
    I suspect that this isn't an April Fool's joke as it is mentioned on the NYSE site here []
  • by sn00ker ( 172521 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @04:38AM (#22928860) Homepage
    And that's the least of their worries.

    Posting a story like that would be a sure-fire way to make Big Blue's stock drop like a hot rock, and you'd have shareholders on your arse faster than GNAA members at an orgy.

    If the SEC thought it had been done with the intent of manipulating the market for gain, though, you'd be wishing that it was just shareholders and the GNAA after your arse. Coz there'd be a strong likelihood that your arse would become property of Bubba.

  • ... it starts in America and I get the whole thing all over again. The OMG Ponies were better.
  • Ban Microsoft (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by hey ( 83763 )
    Of course, the should ban Microsoft for monopolistic practices.
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by MrNaz ( 730548 ) *
      Hey look everyone, its a new, insightful and carefully thought out remark from an obviously well-educated individual. Quick, put him in charge of something!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Think of it like this. IBM is one of the greatest champions of Open Source, which inherently prevents just about anyone to tamper with the source code. Now, since Open Source as a movement (rather then a company) doesn't have one central authority IBM is simply the closest to being seen as one of such focal points. Or motors if you wish. Sans IBM, there's mush greater chance then some other companies and business models will "prevail". Having said that, this also means that closed sources (with or without N
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What a load of horse hit. IBM is not nor has it ever been the greatest champion of Open Source. They support it with some basic lip service and only keep contributing because of what they are able to pull out at the current point in time is more profitable to them than not being involved, if that changes they will drop Open Source like a smelly turd in a nanosecond. IBM still has some of the biggest closets of closed source applications of ANY company in the world and they have no intention whatsoever of op
  • Read summary, read article, not helping. What a hell are reason for it? :)

    But nice tagging with !omgponies. Damn, that was so cool, a little overboard, but still cool.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @06:34AM (#22929264)

    The timing is curious but I can assure you this is not a joke. I work as a contractor for DHS and the word came down yesterday. We said the same thing - you're kidding, right? - but it turned out to be a very real order.

    I don't know how IBM is about delivering on contracts themselves, but we as a contractor (in conjunction with the government program managers) use IBM commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software extensively. Since the DHS reciprocal ban includes purchase orders, this really throws a wrench in our works. We are looking at the possibility of switching a 500+ head software development shop from IBM-Rational to...something else, by the end of the year when our maintenance runs out. Another project I work with was just evaluating and beginning development with WebSphere, and they are going to completely lose momentum.

    I am sure other agencies are doing the same as far as the extent of implementation of the ban. This might be good for the taxpayers in the long run, but right now it is causing a lot of billable hours to be spent scrambling, so I sure hope it's worth it, EPA.
    • by darkob ( 634931 )
      How can taxpayers benefit from such move? Given the multithousend workforce within IBM (and their subcontractors) which also tend to be US taxpayers? So US government had chosen to be acuser, judge and the jury and had chosen to punish company heavily involved with the government orders with the death penalty with no due process or some other remedy if there are illegal activities involved? Oh, incidently, IBM is also publicly traded company (NYSE: IBM) and it's stock is also included in the Dow Jones Indus
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Darkob -

        Same AC from the parent on this thread.

        Don't worry too much about IBM just yet. From TFA, they get about $1.7B in revenue from federal contracts each year, but this equates to 1% of IBM's annual revenue. The other 99% is still just dandy. They'll make it along just fine.

        In theory, if the company is gaming contract competition, then that is detrimental to the efficient spending of government money, which is in turn bad for taxpayers. And I appreciate your sympathy for IBM's tax-paying employees, but
      • It's only temporary - I would imagine IBM is doing everything in its power to get it lifted ASAP.
      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        How can taxpayers benefit from such move?

        Well, the answer as you obviously have guessed is that they don't. At least not on balance.

        There's a philosophy in government contracting that if an ounce of medicine benefits a patient, then a quart would be thirty two times better. It's the fault of politics, with its fondness for oversimplification and grand gestures.

        As a taxpayer, you're screwed. As a voter, you can at least do a little. Don't vote for the guy who is promising to run the most ethical administr

      • How can taxpayers benefit from such move?

              What, do you work for IBM? Unbelievable reasoning, even for April Fool's Day.

              According to your reasoning, Enron should still be kicking.

    • I wonder how this will change how American government uses the Blue Gene supercomputers. No more 'Top 5' supercomputers for the EPA?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by crtech ( 1265764 )
      It is definitely NOT a hoax or a joke. Here's the press release from IBM: []
  • And they invented a reason to ban them from government contracts. Well, thats unheard of, especially for bush administration (!)
  • Haliburton (Score:4, Interesting)

    by misanthrope101 ( 253915 ) on Tuesday April 01, 2008 @08:30AM (#22929706)
    Considering what Haliburton has done (and been caught/fined for) and yet is still chugging along without a hitch, what did IBM have to do to get suspended altogether?
    • No no. You are comparing apples and gold oranges.
      Halliburton is on "our" side: The good side. It is fighting terror and assisting our troops valiants by providing them with MRE, hot showers, massages, etc., to help us defeat terrorists. It is in fact unfairly targetted by the communist-lefty press for war-profiteering.

      IBM, on the other hand tried to lobby, without campaign money, for a new contract.
      That IS a crime! How dare IBM lobby our esteemed congressmen and waste their precious time without reimbursing
  • OOXML Bitch Slap (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    IBM have been one of the most prominent corporate voices against ISO's approval of OOXML.

    Imagine how IBM's investors will feel about this news.

    With OOXML looking like its scraping through ISO, surely this is a Redmond-inspired powerplay to remind IBM that they need to start toeing the line or be crushed.

    For me there is a clear message in this announcement. Its not a coincidence.
  • Didn't IBM get in trouble with the U.S. government once before - resulting in big fines - for selling mainframes("supercomputers") to people behind the Iron Curtain(USSR itself?) during the Cold War?
    My search-fu is failing to pull up a valid reference to this. Maybe I made it up. :)
  • I remember when I was a youngster living in South Africa. We were told that the government was corrupt because they were white supremacists. Then the black government came into power and were just as corrupt. It then dawned on me that PEOPLE=GREED and POWER=OPPORTUNITY. When I studied government administration as one of my college modules we did the prcuremnt process and the lecturer went to great pains to tell us some of the schemes that people came up with to win contracts. Wow, the human mind has no limi
  • It's likely just that agency.

    But I'm sure they can still subcontract through other vendors. It's just that they won't make as much money.

    IBM has been banned several times from other agencies. My old place, they were banned for 2 years, but then sub-ed to SAIC in the mean time. Nothing new here.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson