GSA, OMB to announce McAfee SmartBuy deal

Antivirus SmartBuy deals in final negotiations

The Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration have awarded a SmartBuy enterprise license deal to McAfee for its antivirus software and finally will announce it as early as April 9.

McAfee officials confirmed the deal was completed in December 2006 but kept it under wraps since then. They could not say why the deal wasn’t announced sooner.

Other sources said the deal was delayed because of competition issues. Last December, McAfee was the only antivirus vendor to have its software validated under the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2. FIPS 140-2 sets the requirements for software with cryptographic modules.

OMB and GSA did not want to give one vendor a competitive advantage over another because of the FIPS 140-2 certification issue, sources said. Even though OMB, through the NIST document, required agencies to only buy antivirus software that includes a validated encryption module, few have done so.

GSA had to wait until vendors received validation before moving forward with the SmartBuy deal. Symantec, another large antivirus software vendor, also has a SmartBuy deal in the works. But company officials said no contract was imminent.

“We have been surprised that the announcement has been delayed,” said Mike Carpenter, vice president of McAfee’s federal group. “We’ve had a formal SmartBuy deal in place and have actively been obtaining business since the end of December.”

The Homeland Security Department’s Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement was one of the first agencies to make a major buy through McAfee reseller CDW Government last December, McAfee official said.

GSA sent out a notice in October 2005 stating that a deal with McAfee, Symantec, CA, Sophos and Trend Micro was imminent. But the deals stalled because none of the vendors at the time were validated with FIPS 140-2. McAfee became the first vendor to validate their software in July 2006 and Symantec joined in the past two months, sources said.

Symantec and McAfee’s software rank in the top 20 most-used applications in government, GSA has said.

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