Procurement

IBM steps back from CIA deal

cloud concept with man in suit

The battle between two tech behemoths to build a cloud computing infrastructure for the CIA and the broader intelligence community appears to be over.

IBM, which saw its successful bid protest of Amazon Web Services' $600 million deal with the CIA overturned in early October by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, has withdrawn the injunctive action it filed immediately after the ruling by Judge Thomas Wheeler.

Big Blue had asked the court to halt contract work between the CIA and AWS while it considered an appeal. The government claimed in a subsequent court filing that an injunction and further delay on the contract would be harmful to national security. While IBM is not budging on its contention that it offers a superior product, an appeal of Wheeler's decision now appears unlikely, based on IBM's withdrawal. However, the company has not entirely ruled it out.

"In light of the government's recent submissions emphasizing its need to move forward on the contract, IBM has withdrawn its motion," IBM spokesperson Clint Roswell told FCW. "IBM maintains its position that the GAO's findings were appropriate."

The CIA has been trying to procure a commercially developed cloud infrastructure within the IC for nearly two years, the past nine months of which have involved a high-profile legal battle between IBM and AWS.

IBM's bid protest, upheld by the Government Accountability Office in June, forced the CIA to rebid the contract to both companies, each offering additional services and likely cheaper costs.

But AWS rallied by successfully taking the government to court, stating the GAO should not have upheld the protest from IBM and asking that the original deal, worth up to $600 million over four years, be upheld. Once the federal judge overturned GAO's ruling and ordered the CIA and AWS to get back to work on their original deal, IBM was left with few legal options.

While IBM has had recent successes in the federal cloud market, particularly with the General Services Administration and the Interior Department, AWS's deal enhances its reputation as a serious player in the federal cloud computing market – a big deal considering it is already the largest public cloud infrastructure provider in the world.

AWS offered no comment when reached by FCW.

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1986, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

  • Shutterstock image.

    Merged IT modernization bill punts on funding

    A House panel approved a new IT modernization bill that appears poised to pass, but key funding questions are left for appropriators.

  • General Frost

    Army wants cyber capability everywhere

    The Army's cyber director said cyber, electronic warfare and information operations must be integrated into warfighters' doctrine and training.

  • Rising Star 2013

    Meet the 2016 Rising Stars

    FCW honors 30 early-career leaders in federal IT.

Reader comments

Thu, Oct 31, 2013 John Weiler United States

I commend IBM for taking the high ground, and letting CIA move out with its critical implementation of IC-ITE. There are many opportunities awaiting IBM armed with new Cloud acquisitions. The real challenge ahead for agencies is how to modernize legacy systems before moving them to the cloud, recognizing the supporting vendors have zero interests in supporting reduction in their revenue streams.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group