Department of State deal for Kindles falls through
On June 12th, I wrote about a contract between the Department of State and Amazon for Kindles and Kindle services.
I was pretty positive about it. I pointed out how the contract had some forward-looking features, and said:
“I think this may actually be a very important development, and bring us some real improvements.”
That would be because, if Amazon improved Kindles to meet the contracted requirements for the government, we would be likely to see those changes in our public sector Kindles as well.
So, I was a bit dismayed at first when I saw several stories about the deal having been canceled. There was more than article in my morning Flipboard read, and one of my regular readers even alerted me later in the day in a private e-mail.
Why is the blogosphere buzzing about this? It really wasn’t all that many Kindles, in the big scheme of things.
Well, it’s clearly partially the loss of prestige.
After all, the Department of State had originally said:
“The Kindle has been identified as the only product that will meet the DoS’ requirements as part of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs’ (R’s) efforts to globally scale e-Reader use as a tool for the DoS’ English Access Microscholarship Program (ACCESS), and also placement in DoS’ many American Spaces housed in libraries, cultural centers, reading rooms and other partnership institutions such as Bi-National Centers.”
Now, they say:
Added: Aug 15, 2012 4:00 pm
U.S. Department of State solicitation (Request for Proposals) SAQMMA12R0272 for Amazon e-Readers, Content Management, and Logistics is cancelled and the Justification and Approval (J&A) to award contract SAQMMA12D0131 on a sole-source basis is withdrawn. The Department of State intends to conduct additional market research and re-examine its requirements for this program.”
Note that they aren’t saying that they aren’t going to go with Amazon…they still might to do that.
Basically, like the rest of us, they are waiting to see what happens as more products are released in the next few months.
This could be the cost of Amazon not having released something sooner.
As regular readers know, I tend to look for the positive.
One possibility is that Amazon was shifting the specs on new devices, to the point that they couldn’t deliver what had been planned…but that they can deliver something better.
If the DoS still ends up contracting with Amazon, no big harm done. If they went with Barnes & Noble, that would be a black eye for Amazon. I don’t see that happening, though, partially because the NOOK just isn’t international enough.
Here are some of the stories on it:
- Official Notice
- CNET article
- All Things D article
- PaidContent.org article
- Computerworld article (thanks to my reader for the heads-up in a private e-mail)
What do you think? Could Amazon have kept this deal alive if they had released new models? Does this make Amazon look bad? Could some good come out of it? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.