IBM Banned From Federal Contracts; No One Saying Why

from the that-can't-be-a-good-thing dept

It's not at all clear what's going on yet, but apparently the EPA has banned IBM from getting any contracts for some unnamed (serious) infraction. Apparently when one gov't agency does such a thing, others follow suit, meaning that effectively IBM may be barred from getting any new government contracts for an extended period of time (potentially up to one year). This is rather unusual, and no one seems to be saying why this ban was put in place, but needless to say, it suggests some sort of pretty serious infraction on the part of IBM.

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  • identicon
    Reminds Me, 31 Mar 2008 @ 5:16pm

    Of that Seinfeld episode...

    No soup for you. Come back one year!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ehrichweiss, 31 Mar 2008 @ 6:02pm

    Re: Free Sports Bets

    Someone needs to edit Jabroni's post and remove the affiliate code so he can't get credit for it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Cynical, 31 Mar 2008 @ 6:34pm

    I wonder if anyone will file under the Freedom of Information Act to find out why.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    VDub12 650, 31 Mar 2008 @ 6:48pm


    Maybe it is because of the big NGI contract that IBM disputed about?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Alex, 31 Mar 2008 @ 6:56pm

    The government just read that article about how IBM helped the nazis during the war

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bryce, 31 Mar 2008 @ 7:05pm

    IBM Helping Nazi's


    I think if they just found that out, IBM would be getting more contracts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Frough (profile), 31 Mar 2008 @ 7:08pm

    Poughkeepsie, NY

    IBM put so much waste into the water and soil in Poughkeepsie NY (on the Hudson) that it now has to keep buildings up, even if it has no actual staff in them. Each building has built into it soil detoxifiers to clean up the land they befouled.

    That's why I think the EPA is banning them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Vincent Clement, 1 Apr 2008 @ 4:34am

      Re: Poughkeepsie, NY

      Soil detoxifiers? The only reference I could find to any soil contamination in Poughkeepsie was the Newburgh scrap yard.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nick, 31 Mar 2008 @ 7:09pm

    Maybe the EPA has nothing better to do, they must get bored of pretending to care about the environment!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    E, 31 Mar 2008 @ 7:36pm

    I know why

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2008 @ 7:36pm

    It's cause IBM sold thier biz to china

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Paul.S, 31 Mar 2008 @ 10:42pm

    EPA troubles?

    It appears on the surface that the EPA is complaining that IBM tried to gather information from their employees illegally.

    However Boeing (among others) appear to be guilty of the same charge.

    It wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that IBM gave the Democrats three time as much money as what they gave the Republicans? Would it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2008 @ 10:53pm

    my guess

    My guess is that IBM got a little carried away at upselling Uncle Sam. I imagine that someone finally got tired of seeing additional support costs beyond the initial contract timeframe rising by an order of magnitude.
    Just speculation of course, but I think the EPA may not be the only government agency that has been burned doing business with big blue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2008 @ 3:27am

      Re: my guess

      IBM Consulting Services had an exclusive contract, to service Nokia, globally. That's a 60,000 user intranet folks.

      IBM, in classic bold arrogance, lost the contract there too, thinking no one would bother to removing IBM from the picture.

      But then IBM moved lots of folks from the picture via outsourcing. Live and learn.

      Following a Nokia loss, maybe the US govt. will focus IBM management? Sure hope so.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    moe, 1 Apr 2008 @ 6:39am


    Wow, a lot of speculation going on here in the comments. The gov't takes contracting and the transparency required to do it correctly very, very seriously. When a potential bidder, in this case IBM, doesn't take it seriously the gov't punishes them.

    No, this isn't political retribution Paul S.

    No, this isn't about upselling Uncle Sam(which would get you debarred, but it's not the case here).

    IBM violated the rules of contracting with the gov't. If a contractor debarment wasn't on the up and up, then the contractor would sue and win. The gov't takes all aspects of contracting seriously, including the punishments it levies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JD (profile), 1 Apr 2008 @ 7:14am

    The other side of the coin...

    If any EPA employees gave info to the IBM'ers, shouldn't EPA be barred from contracting out any more work?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Scott Spinola, 1 Apr 2008 @ 8:49am

    Not an "unnamed infraction" at all

    The reason IBM was blacklisted was very clearly stated in the article Anonymous Coward links to:

    "The subpoenas, which were issued March 28 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, stem from an EPA investigation into allegations IBM improperly obtained information about a contract it was bidding on from EPA employees, said Fred McNeese, an IBM spokesman."

    This is from the Federal Times online, not exactly an out of the way source. I'm disappointed in Mr. Masnick and his reporting on this. Perhaps he posted his story before the Federal Times posted theirs, but I'm sure Mr. Masnick could have done a little digging to find the information, or at least updated his article with the new information when it became available.

    This is the problem with "rumors, conspiracies, etc.", they are rarely based on fact.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), 1 Apr 2008 @ 5:32pm

    IBM is a joke today.

    IBM is a company who let the Japanese take the mainframe market from them and Microsoft take the operating system market. The only reason that IBM still exists today is their patent portfolio. IBM is a husk of its former self and a joke.

    IBM files hordes of incremental mostly insignificant patents and their conduct is one of the reasons that the patent system is burdened. They sense that their days are numbered, and that eventually they will expire with a whimper.

    They have a vision for a patent system which is a king's sport, where only the privileged vested interests can play.

    There are two major big business camps promoting reformation of the patent system.

    One group simply wants to eviscerate the system to mitigate the consequences of their patent pirating conduct. This group was initially formed by washed up tech companies who lost their ability to produce significant inventions decades ago and a few parasitic companies who never were innovators, rather they are shrewd predators on innovators. They were then joined by the insurance and banking industries, of which one group is only innovative at denying claims and the second group's claim to fame is inventing ever more and larger fees. This group calls themselves the Coalition for Patent Fairness, but are better known as the Coalition for Patent Piracy. Their members have a variety of deficiencies such as being caught cooking their books, putting their customers at risk of being maimed or killed with defective products, committing fraud on the court in litigations over their patent piracy, and various other sins.

    The second group are much older companies. They tend to value their patents but would very much like to reign in pesky inventors who nip at their heels. They are also hot on HARMazation of America's patent system, a process which dumbs down the greatest patent system in the world for those company's benefit. This group is known as the 21st Century Patent Coalition. While they are marginally better than the Coalition for Patent Piracy they are also very short term gain oriented businesses.

    Both groups prey on the real inventors of our country. Both are prone to abuse the process of law in a bid to bankrupt inventors. Both ship the fruits of American ingenuity to developing countries. Both groups routinely indenture inventors in those countries and will dispose of their empty husks just as they have done to our inventors when they find a slightly better deal elsewhere.

    Independent inventors have community ties and when they prosper so do their communities. But when the inventors have their spirits killed by disreputable and predatory large companies, the community suffers a much greater loss than the inventor.

    Beware, for these companies are throwing hundreds of millions of dollars into "reforming" our patent system to be more friendly to them and much less friendly to upstart startup companies. They know that this is a bargain if it facilitates their appropriation of billions of dollars. It is a fact that many of the companies promoting various special interest "reforms" of the patent system have been caught red handed cheating, lying, and thieving - and they are being held accountable for their poor conduct. Accountability is what drives their whining about bigger than live mythical trolls.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    Speaking only on my own behalf.
    President - - RJR at
    Executive Director - - RJR at
    Senior Fellow -
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ralph Murphy, 10 Sep 2008 @ 2:52am

    doubt this will happen

    IBM is so embedded into government I doubt this will fly due to ongoing support contracts like this one recent IBM contact award and essential product upgrades, few corps provide the trusted range of services they can so excluding them is not possible.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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