Can small business support governmentwide tablet procurement?

As iPads, Galaxy Tabs and PlayBooks become ubiquitous in the private sector, the General Services Administration is conducting market research to determine if small-business manufacturers could meet requirements of a possible governmentwide tablet procurement.

According to the March 28 FedBizOpps Request For Information, GSA's Office of the Chief Acquisition Officer  has been fielding many requests for tablet computers across the federal government. With the increasing interest as a catalyst, GSA is considering conducting an acquisition for tablet computers as a small-business set-aside. But the agency doesn't know if there are any domestic small-business manufacturers that can perform the work under the nonmanufacturer rule.

The nonmanufacturer rule means that a contractor under a small business set-aside contract should be a small business under the applicable size standard and should provide either its own product or that of another domestic small-business manufacturing or processing concern.

Companies must come under The North American Industry Classification System's Electronic Computer Manufacturing sector and have fewer than 1,000 employees to be considered.

GSA's main areas under investigation include: Are the tablets manufactured by a small business? Do they contain device encryption (FIPA 140-2 certified)? And do they meet the technical and security requirements specified by the government?

Also the tablets should have WI-Fi access, an integrated touchscreen keyboard, weigh less than two pounds, have a minimum of eight hours of battery life, and contain a camera, among other things.

Responses are due by April 5, at 2 p.m. and companies that answered a Feb. 6, Sources Sought notice do not need to respond.

About the Author

Alysha Sideman is the online content producer for Washington Technology.

Reader Comments

Tue, Apr 3, 2012

Why don't they buy them off a GSA schedule, under Part 8? Part 8 says that Part 19 doesn't apply, and Part 19 is where one finds the nonmanufacturer rule.

Sun, Apr 1, 2012

Really?!?!?!?!? Do they really think a small business can produce something that will compete with the iPad or Tab. That's a no brainer, no market research should be required. Hey, GSA, buy iPads.

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