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The U.S. General Services Administration is
backtracking on earlier
that IBM’s suspension from doing business with the federal
government extends to its business partners and resellers.

Initially, the GSA, which oversees most federal procurement, said the
suspension extended to IBM reseller partners and that no IBM
product could be sold to the government, regardless of the source, unless there
were no other suppliers available.

After consulting with EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) procurement
officers who initiated the suspension, the GSA revised its interpretation,
stating that IBM partners could continue to sell products to the
government if they were acting on their own contracts.

IBM is under investigation for violating federal
contracting practices related to an $84 million bid to the EPA. Under the
suspension, IBM is prohibited from bidding on or entering into new
contracts with federal agencies until the situation is resolved. Existing
contracts are unaffected by the suspension.

The government’s action against IBM has caused anxiety among resellers, as many observers
and analysts struggled to interpret the implications of the suspension. The
incorrect GSA statement only fueled confusion. IBM
has stated from the beginning that its resellers were unaffected.