Corel files a lawsuit against Labor contract awarded to Microsoft

Corel files a lawsuit against Labor contract awarded to Microsoft

By Bill Murray
GCN Staff

Corel Corp. has asked a federal court to bar the Labor Department from deploying Microsoft Corp. software and has accused Labor of inappropriately awarding Microsoft an $8 million sole-source contract.

'Corel has taken this step to ensure the U.S. government follows its own rules for open and fair procurement,' said Marcia Mills, Corel's corporate counsel. 'The Labor Department's decision adversely affects all software vendors and suppliers to the government.'

Injunction sought

In the lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Corel contends that Labor violated the Competition in Contracting Act, the Federal Acquisition Regulation and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Labor spokesman Howard Waddell said department officials would not comment on the case.

Corel has asked the court to issue an injunction forbidding the department from deploying Microsoft operating system and office suite software. It also wants the court to order Labor to reopen the procurement.

'DOL's bundling of its office automation suite and operating system requirements makes Microsoft's operating system the gatekeeper for DOL's office automation suite requirements,' the lawsuit states. 'Had DOL not bundled its office automation suite and operating system requirements and [had it] made its standardization decision within applicable law, DOL would have selected Corel WordPerfect Suite as the standard office automation suite for the agency.'

Corel officials said the company has a substantial user base at Labor: 20,000 users and 12,700 WordPerfect licenses.

When Corel officials learned that Labor had decided to standardize its office automation suite, they met with department executives last February to discuss the planned procurement, the lawsuit states.

Labor did not provide evaluation factors for the selection criteria, Corel officials said. On March 30, the department asked Corel to submit an offer for 20,000 WordPerfect Suite licenses. Corel made a proposal presentation April 15.

Corel argued that the decision to award a contract for Microsoft Windows 98 and Windows NT was predetermined; it pointed to meetings with Microsoft officials that occurred before the department asked for a Corel proposal, the lawsuit notes.

Corel received a letter on Sept. 29 about Labor's decision to buy Microsoft products.

On Oct. 7, the company filed a complaint with the General Accounting Office, but GAO dismissed the protest, saying it did not have proper jurisdiction.

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