Oklahoma signs five-year contract with Dell

Wednesday, November 17th 2004, 6:26 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The state of Oklahoma is getting a Dell -- a lot of them.

A five-year exclusive contract that state officials signed last month with Austin, Texas-based Dell Inc. could be worth more than $150 million based on figures released Tuesday.

The contract, signed by State Purchasing Director Tom Jaworsky, requires that all agencies governed by the state's Central Purchasing Act buy their desktop and laptop computers from Dell.

The Dell deal was signed less than two weeks before the computer maker announced it will build a 120,000-square-foot sales and customer service center on the Oklahoma River a few miles west of downtown Oklahoma City.

Dell first revealed plans to locate a service center in Oklahoma on July 7, but the contract timing was purely coincidental, said Scott Meacham, state Office of Finance director.

"There is no relationship between this contract and Dell's decision to locate in Oklahoma City," Meacham said. "To be honest, my guys didn't even know that contract was going on until it was announced."

Meacham said his office worked with the Department of Central Services to define the standard computer configurations the state would seek through the bidding process. The final contract was negotiated by the Department of Central Services, Meacham said.

Jaworsky said Dell competitor Hewlett-Packard has filed an Open Records Act request for all documentation surrounding the bid.

Oklahoma is at least the second state to lock in Dell with an exclusive computer contract for agencies. In April, Pennsylvania said it signed a four-year deal with Dell worth up to $144 million.

The contract does not guarantee any specific number of computers or dollar amount that the state will spend with Dell. Instead, state agencies buying computers from Dell will receive discounts of 11 percent to 18 percent on laptops and desktops, and up to 30 percent on high-end "workstations."

Meacham said the contract does not include PC-related products such as printers, servers and other equipment.

"This is just the machine and monitor, basically," he said.

Dell lists all 50 states on its Web sites with purchasing contracts available to their agencies, although it is not known how many others may be exclusive to the computer maker.

In Oklahoma, both the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University have their own contracts to buy computers from Dell. OSU spokesman Nestor Gonzalez said the university has purchase contracts from more than six computer makers.