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State Dept. Cancels $16.5M Kindle Contract 117

itwbennett writes "The U.S. Department of State will be canceling a $16.5 million Amazon order that included 2,500 Kindle Touch e-readers, 50 pieces of content, and 'required provision of a secure, centrally managed content distribution and management platform.' The department said that it will be re-examining its requirements for the program. Those requirements had called for a single-function device with text-to-speech, a 'battery life of no less than about 8 hours of continuous reading or approximately 7.5 hours of video playback,' and free Wi-Fi. The Kindle was the only project that met that original set of requirements."
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State Dept. Cancels $16.5M Kindle Contract

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  • Re:Spec'd the Kindle (Score:5, Informative)

    by MonsterTrimble ( 1205334 ) <monstertrimble AT hotmail DOT com> on Sunday August 19, 2012 @09:48AM (#41045139)
    Actually, I see this all the time in the public sector and have done it on countless occasions myself.

    The reason Amazon is the only one which meets the specs is because the specs were chosen so only Amazon could meet them. It's how you can exclude a vendor (or vendors) you have no desire of even giving the opportunity to win the quote. This can be because of past history with the company's sales team, poor delivery, poor service, poor quality, and so on. While in a strict lower cost item sense it's bad, it is often not the case when you consider all the other factors. Extra time spent caused by poor quality or poor delivery can often cost far more than the additional money spent on a product which has very good quality and is delivered on time.
  • Re:Spec'd the Kindle (Score:5, Informative)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @09:54AM (#41045177)

    That is common. We go by the joke we called a fare bidding process. Everyone denies it but this is how it works.
    The Government finds a vendor they want to use. Once they find the vendor they like, they often get the resumes of the people who will be working, or the product specifications, then they use that to make their bid. Because the Bid has a detail on what they want, it is hard for a competitor to compete with the bid, because every product and service is a little different. Even though they may be able to help solve the same problems.

    If you look at lot of these bids, you see things like
    Web Site Development
    Required Sills:
    HTML 10+ years
    JavaScript 8+ years
    Photoshop 6+ years
    ASP.NET 9+ years
    FORTRAN 77 4+ years
    C++ 12+ years
    MUMPS 3+ years

    You see bids like that you know they have already picked someone they want to use. The Job doesn't even require FORTRAN or MUMPS or C++ however they may have some in house applications that still run these systems so they add it in their bids, but they have already picked who they want and they know that they have those skills, and they also have similar systems on their side (To show that they have a need for such technology).

    They did all the paper work correctly and there isn't any sign of corruption. However they found a way to bypass the fair and competitive bidding process.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2012 @11:20AM (#41045867)

    Go read it.. SAQMMA12R0272 at some highlights:
    "The US Department of State intends to award an indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity commercial items contract on or about June 19, 2012, on a sole source basis to Amazon Digital Services, Inc. of Seattle WA for the commercial supplies and services described below. The anticipated value is $16,500,000 over the life of the contract, which shall be one base year plus 4 option years."

    "The Contractor shall provide 3G services globally. The Contractor is responsible for all costs associated with 3G services globally (i.e., downloading content and access to the Internet Browser)." {Better make sure it works in Ulan Bator}
    "The Contractor will supply content to the device delivered under this contract, but shall also support the delivery of content to the following other devices currently utilized by the Department of State: Apple iOS, Android, Amazon Kindle, RIM Blackberry, PC, and MAC"
    "The Contractor shall provide a dedicated 24/7 help desk to support inquires from the Department of State and its partners in countries specified in Attachment A."
    it's not 16M for 2500 kindles.. it's for a package of services, secure distribution channels, etc., The "initial delivery" is for 2500 readers, with options for a lot more, within the 16M total. And a starting batch of 50 documents, which Amazon would have to convert. 1 initial year plus 4 option years, too.

    They wanted a locked down platform which could NOT be used as a general purpose computer or have user installed software (knocking out the iPad, jailbroken or not)

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein