Partners are confident the challenges will be resolved

By Sharon Linsenbach  |  Print this article Print

Partners say they'll stay true to IBM while it tries to resolve the federal government contracting ban.

"We've heard of contracting officers not processing mods involving IBM products, but that was only their initial reaction," he said. The official who initiated the suspension and the debarment, he said, would have the final say over whether modifications fell under the umbrella of the suspension.

While Charles said ImmixGroup didn't fear economic fallout from the suspension as they sourced from more than one vendor, he said that the situation could get bad for smaller, vendor-monogamous VARs depending on the length of the suspension.

Chris Badger, vice president of marketing for Forterra Systems, a virtual world software platform provider and IBM partner, said his company wasn't giving up on its future prospects with IBM. In fact, he said Forterra planned to go full steam ahead with a unified communication and collaboration project it was working on with IBM for U.S. intelligence agencies.

"We are not backing down a bit from partnering with IBM, even though we're certainly aware of the near-term challenges they face in the federal business," said Badger.

He said Forterra was confident that IBM would have resolved any legal issues dealing with the suspension by the time the first release of the project was available in the third quarter of this year.

IBM has banned some of its partners from attending its Rational Software Development Conference this year. Click here to read more.

Badger said Forterra's OLIVE (Online Interactive Virtual Environment) platform, which creates a 3-D collaborative environment, was also garnering much interest in markets outside of the federal government and the intelligence markets, and that meant Forterra didn't stand to lose much businesses.

Suspensions like the one IBM faces are temporary but open-ended. The EPA, as the suspending agency, must decide in conjunction with IBM and the grand jury investigating the infraction, whether to lift the suspension or make the ban permanent.

Charles said IBM may be able to persuade the government to limit the scope of the suspension, mitigating the impact.

"Depending on what IBM negotiates with the government, the ban could last two months, three months," Charles said. He said that IBM may be able to argue that the scope of the ban should be narrowed to IBM Global Services since the suspension related to a protest against a services contract.  

"IBM may be able to say this dealt with a protest of a services contract involving IGS; a system building contract, not a procurement for products," said Charles.

Sharon Linsenbach Sharon Linsenbach is a staff writer for eWEEK and eWEEK Channel Insider. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Sharon was Assistant Managing Editor for CRN, a weekly magazine for PC and technology resellers. Before joining CRN, Sharon was an Acquisitions Editor for The Coriolis Group and later, Editorial Director with Paraglyph Press, both in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a BA in English from Drew University and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her significant other and two neurotic cats. When she's not reading or writing about technology, Sharon enjoys yoga, knitting, traveling and live music. Sharon can be reached at Sharon.Linsenbach@ziffdavisenterprise.com.

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