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BSkyB sues ‘dishonest’ IT group for Ј709m

16 октября 2007

The broadcaster BSkyB on Monday accused EDS, the US IT outsourcing company, of making a “deliberate, cynical and dishonest” sales pitch for a multi-million-pound contract to build a customer service system.

BSkyB sues ‘dishonest’ IT group for ВЈ709mIn one of the largest commercial cases seen in London’s technology and construction court, BSkyB is suing for £709m in damages, claiming that EDS failed to comply with contractual obligations undertaken in 2000, and that its subsequent performance was “woeful”.

The scale of the claim – which alleges deceit, negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract by EDS – contrasts sharply with the value of the original contract, which was £48m. The contract also included a £30m liability cap, but this is overridden because of the allegations of deceit.

BSkyB refused on Monday to comment publicly on the breakdown of the claim, but the damages figure is said to be based on profits allegedly lost. EDS said it would be refuting BSkyB’s allegations over the course of the trial, which is scheduled to last more than six months.

“EDS will vigorously defend its position,” the company commented.

Opening the case for BSkyB, Mark Howard QC said EDS had failed to use any recognised form of time and cost estimation system when tendering for the work, and simply produced a reflection of what it thought BSkyB wanted. The Texas-based company, he alleged, “put forward a sales pitch knowing that it was being done in a misleading way”.

By July 2000 BSkyB had selected EDS as systems integrator for the project, beating out a competing bid from PwC. But, said Mr Howard: “If the misrepresentations had not been made, Sky would not have selected them [EDS]”.

The barrister went on to describe performance of the contract over the next nine months as “woeful”.

In the summer of 2001 there was an effort to renegotiate the deal. However, this failed to resolve matters and BSkyB claims the contract was then terminated in March of the following year.

EDS, on the other hand, has said that while it stepped down as systems integrator at that stage, it continued to provide contractors to BSkyB until it terminated the contract in January 2003.

On Monday, as he set out BSkyB’s case, Mr Howard quoted from documents written by some of the other companies working on the project with EDS. One, written in March 2001, assessed the project as being “in freefall”, and commented that the EDS team’s ability to deliver was “exceedingly low”.

Источник: Financial Times

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