Portable-2 protested

International Data Products Corp. and Commax Corp. late last month protested the Army's Portable-2 contract a development that could delay shipments under that program for months.

IDP delivered a protest against the $236 million Portable-2 contract the day before Christmas with Commax Corp. filing one Dec. 26. Because both protests were filed with the General Accounting Office within 10 days of the award (Dec. 16) the Army cannot begin shipping until the General Accounting Office renders a decision a process that could take months.

George Fuster president of IDP said that in his view the winning bids submitted by both Government Technology Services Inc. and Sysorex Information Systems Inc. "were noncompliant" with the Army's requirements. Fuster added that not only did IDP submit a bid that met the Army's specifications "but we had the lowest price."

GTSI which holds the Army Portable-1 contract that expires this month did not publicly disclose details of its Portable-2 offering. But Fuster said GTSI plans to offer notebooks manufactured by Everex Systems Inc. including its StepNote One "which we believe to be noncompliant." Sysorex bid a Mobile Pentium 133 notebook from AMS Tech Inc. and a Mobile Pentium 150 ThinkPad from IBM Corp.

According to Fuster examples of noncompliance in the systems offered by the two winning vendors include the lack of internal CD-ROMs and an internal floppy drive and the lack of a docking station until March as well as not marrying joystick controllers and parallel ports on the same card slot.

Commax did not respond to calls asking for details of its protest before deadline. GTSI declined to comment.

In a statement Carleton Jones president of Sysorex called the protests a "murky brew of false factual assumptions about Sysorex's winning proposal." Jones added that "this kind of meritless sour-grapes protest certainly gives credence to the view of many that some companies' use of the protest process remains the skunk at the garden party of procurement reform.

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