U.S. State Department pulls plug on big Kindle contract

Well, here’s a very peculiar story with an odd twist. Two months ago we reported that the U.S. Department of State had planned to award a 5-year, $16.5 million contract to Amazon.com to put tens of thousands of Kindle electronic readers into educational centers around the world.

The goal was to use the e-readers to help individuals study English at libraries, educational centers, reading rooms and other locations, with the State Department listing a number of factors (including text to speech; long-lasting battery life and free Wi-Fi) as to why it chose Amazon’s devices.

As it turns out, the State Department has now changed its mind and has opened the deal up again to new bidders, reports paidContent.

“In order to conduct additional market research and further explore technological options for our public diplomacy programs, the Department of State opted on August 15 to end the Request for Proposals for the Amazon Kindle in favor of proceeding with a Request for Information (RFI) process,” the State Department said in a statement to paidContent. ” This action will open to all vendors the opportunity to respond to the Department’s requirements for a mobile learning program.”

Ouch.

I guess we should have known something was up when a joint appearance by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unexpectedly postponed a joint appearance in June to discuss the partnership.

Here was the original proposal.

Department of State Kindle Contract

  • guest

    With the way that tablets prices have been coming down, revisiting the award makes economic sense anyway. But you can bet they were worried that Google might sue, as they have in other situations where another vendor was selected.

  • Hannah Martin

    Having read a review of the kindle touch http://search4reviews.net/ I decided to order one and have not been dissapointed, the battery lasts weeks and I have been reading much more than ever.