[Protest of Army Rejection of Two Bids for Word Processing Systems]

B-220677: Feb 5, 1986

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A firm protested the Army's rejection of its two bids for a word processing system, contending that: (1) the Army improperly excluded it from the competitive range for failure to provide plug-compatible peripheral devices; and (2) its interpretation of the amended specifications was reasonable in view of a Department of Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement which stated that a plug-compatible item need not perform its functions in essentially the same manner as the referenced product as long as it performed the same functions. GAO noted that: (1) the solicitation requested a word processing system which was capable of complete interoperability with two existing systems; (2) the Army rejected the protester's proposals because they did not meet several solicitation requirements; (3) the Army advised offerers prior to the submission of proposals that it intended to procure an addition to the existing system; and (4) the protester challenged a section of the solicitation as unduly restrictive and the Army responded by issuing an amendment. GAO held that: (1) the amendment required that offerers' peripheral devices have the capability of connecting to the existing system; (2) the protester's interpretation of the requirements ignored the Army's intention to purchase interconnecting peripherals; (3) although the amendment permitted offerers to satisfy compatibility requirements using an intermediate device, the protester's approach involved four devices and still failed to permit efficient interoperability; and (4) the protester did not have a reasonable chance of being selected for award. Accordingly, the protest was denied.