GSA's still resolving Mobile Armor case
- By Michael Hardy
- Aug 12, 2008
The General Services Administration is still trying to find the right course of action to take about a vendor whose marketing materials falsely implied the government had found its products to be the best, according to GSA officials.
The company, Mobile Armor, one of 10 software companies that distribute encryption software through the Data-At-Rest blanket purchase agreement, included a document purporting to be an official "competitive matrix" in its marketing package. The matrix implied that government officials had created the matrix based on vendor-submitted information, but competitors insist nothing in their bid packages could have been turned into the numerical scores on the document -- all of which touted Mobile Armor as the superior offering.
Mobile Armor yanked the document when complaints began to surface, blaming an unnamed consultant for creating and disseminating it.
GSA officials, in written answers to questions from Federal Computer Week, said they are reminding the reseller that distributes Mobile Armor products that it is not allowed to imply that the GSA has endorsed or prefers any vendor's products over others. However, the officials added, they put the primary blame for the misleading matrix on Mobile Armor's shoulders.
"A reseller can potentially have hundreds, if not thousands, of various manufacturers' products and services under their [GSA] Schedule contract," the officials wrote. "Punitive action against a reseller for the aggressive marketing tactics of a manufacturer under their schedule is not a recourse that serves the government's best interest, nor is it fair to the reseller."
The issue is still in the process of being resolved, they wrote. GSA, the Army and the Air Force all have roles in managing the contract and therefore, in resolving such disputes, they added. Resolution requires coordination across several offices within those agencies.
Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.