Border office wants link to Microsoft developers

The Customs and Border Protection group at the Homeland Security Department is looking for an inside line on ongoing and future developments at Microsoft.

The agency plans to award a noncompetitive contract to Microsoft Consulting Services, according to a notice published Oct. 12 on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site. The task order-based contract will have one base year and four option years, the notice states.

CBP wants expert advice on the use of Microsoft technology for collaborative applications, security, operational efficiency and systems deployments. Agency officials are not competing the contract because they do not believe any sources outside Microsoft have enough knowledge of the company’s products and product plans.

"Microsoft personnel have access to propriety information exclusively available within Microsoft such as internal product support knowledge bases and proprietary architectural and technical information not available to the public or [a] third party," the notice states.

CBP's Office of Information Technology also wants to work directly with developers at the company. "Having access to the personnel within Microsoft who wrote the code behind Microsoft's application is often not only essential but often the only way to resolve complex programming and support issues quickly," according to the notice. Such access "is considered essential to CBP's ability to quickly develop and deploy applications that have a high degree of reliability."

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