Micron bests Dell on PC sales through Air Force BPAs

MONTGOMERY, Ala.—Micron Electronics Inc. has taken the lead over Dell
Computer Corp. in sales through recent blanket purchasing agreements with the Air Force.


Micron is outselling Dell more than 2-to-1, according to Col. Delbert Atkinson,
commander of the Standard Systems Group at Gunter Annex, Ala. The Nampa, Idaho, company
has racked up $7.6 million in business from its BPA, and Dell has secured just $3.1
million in sales, Atkinson said.


SSG in June picked Dell and Micron from a field of five vendors to provide servers, PCs
and notebook computers to the Air Force under the General Services Administration schedule
during the fourth quarter, traditionally the government’s peak buying season. The
BPAs, which could be worth up to $186 million, expire in March.


“The BPAs have been very useful when we had specific requirements because they
helped us go after technology in a particular sector quickly and not have to go through
the acquisition process,” Atkinson said.


Micron sells its 266-, 333-, 350- and 400-MHz ClientPro PCs, 233-MHz TransPort Trek
notebooks and its NetFrame MV5000, 3100 and LV2000 servers through the BPA. Dell sells
Dimension and OptiPlex PCs, Latitude CP high-end notebooks and PowerEdge 2300 servers.


The Air Force created the two BPAs to supplement its three Desktop V contracts held by
Dynamic Decisions Inc. of New York, International Data Products Corp. of Gaithersburg,
Md., and Raytheon Co.


“We felt that there may be a stress on those firms and … we wanted to have
some competition as well,” Atkinson said.


The three Desktop V vendors hold indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts
that could be worth up to $1 billion combined.


As of July 31, Raytheon had racked up $338 million in sales, IDP $31 million and DDI
$23,000, Atkinson said. DDI got a slow start because SSG had not certified the
company’s product list until early this summer, he said.


Raytheon is in the third and final year of its contract; IDP is in the second year of
its three-year contract; and DDI is in the first year of its three-year contract.


The Air Force last year declined to extend Zenith Data Systems’ Desktop V contract
after ZDS repeatedly failed to meet delivery and maintenance support requirements. But
during its contract, ZDS secured $102 million worth of Desktop V orders, he said.


“It concerned us when Raytheon bought Hughes Data Systems—one of the two
original Desktop V vendors,” Atkinson said. “We were concerned that they might
not remain corporately committed to providing the contract obligations. But they said they
would live up to their warranty provisions and continue to take orders. And they
have.”


BPAs let SSG give customers faster turnaround, up-to-the-minute products and the best
prices, Atkinson said.


“We want to provide timely products and services to our customers,” he said.
“We’ll probably continue to see some combination of BPAs and IDIQs in the future
because IDIQs have also performed very well, providing a wide range of products and
services.” 

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