The Veterans Affairs Department awarded Dell Inc. a $476.6 million contract in April for 600,000 PCs and monitors, and I've tried to find out the pricing and configurations for about a month, only to run into the "you need to file a FOIA" wall today.
Since this is a contract for plain vanilla PCs that will suck up almost a half billion in taxpayer funds, I cannot even begin to fathom why the VA acquisition shop wants to keep it a state secret.
Unless it's not a good deal.
Divide 600,000 into $476.6 million, and you end up with a per-PC price of $794 under the VA contract. But if I wanted to buy a Dell PC today, I could get a price of $399 for a Vostro mini-tower with Intel quad core processors under the hood and a 22-inch monitor thrown in.
So is the VA Dell deal really a good deal? I guess we'll all have to wait for what looks like a slow FOIA process to find out.
Bob Brewin joined Government Executive in April 2007, bringing with him more than 20 years of experience as a journalist focusing on defense issues and technology. Bob covers the world of defense and information technology for Nextgov, and is the author of the “What’s Brewin” blog.