“As a threshold matter, IBM lacked any chance of winning a competition with AWS for this C2S contract,” the ruling said, and therefore it lacked standing to claim prejudice in the way the contract had been awarded. The GAO failed to assess whether IBM had the standing to file the protest that it did, said the ruling.
The court also objected to GAO failing to spot maneuvering by IBM’s lawyers. “The GAO failed to address the way in which IBM manipulated its pricing to create a bid protest issue,” it said. IBM “drastically departed from the approach followed in its initial proposal when it came to submitting its final proposal revision” for one set of requirements, known as Scenario 5. IBM had closely questioned the CIA on what it expected from the Scenario 5 requirements. By revising its final bid on Scenario 5, it gained the position to “argue that the agency did not evaluate Scenario 5 prices on a common basis. IBM was the only offeror who appeared to ‘misunderstand’ the Scenario 5 pricing requirements,” the court said.
An interesting look into business practices at IBM, when $600M is at stake.