Compaq on Portable-2

Your story on the Army Portable-2 procurement, "Army trims field to four" [FCW, Dec. 16], carried the assertion that Compaq Computer Corp. was dropped from the competition prior to submitting a best and final offer. This is incorrect. Compaq was in fact one of the five companies asked to submit a BAFO and was a strong contender throughout the competition. While Compaq's well-known policy of not commenting on an ongoing competition prevented us from refuting the claim, a reputable, knowledgeable source could surely have been located to provide the facts.

Federal Computer Week's readers depend on the information your usually factual, well-researched stories provide. It does everyone a disservice when you treat unfounded rumor as front-page news.

Gary T. NewgaardDirectorFederal Sales and MarketingCompaq Computer Corp.Editor's reply: FCW is eager to correct the record and state that Compaq was one of the five companies that submitted a BAFO to the Army for the Portable-2 contract. However, we dispute the suggestion that inadequate reporting was responsible. Sources familiar with the procurement told the reporter that four companies were eliminated before the BAFO. All companies were called. Three acknowledged that they had been eliminated. The fourth - Compaq - refused to comment. Over a 10-day period, three attempts were made to get Compaq officials to confirm or deny the report. Citing a company policy against discussing an ongoing procurement, Compaq executives refused to comment.While we understand Compaq's policy, we cannot permit it to define what is news. Compaq's position seems to us equivalent to saying that nothing that happens in a sporting event is important except the final score. As reporters, we strive to gather accurate information, and when we err, to correct.

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