EDS vows to fight claim of dishonest contract pitch

System integrator EDS has vowed to fight claims by BSkyB that it deliberately misled the broadcaster when it pitched for a services contract.

A spokesperson at EDS told Computerworld UK the firm would "vigorously defend its position" in the case, which began yesterday at London's technology and construction court in Holborn.

BSkyB is suing EDS for £709 million (US$1.4 billion) and claims the integrator misleadingly presented a sales pitch for a contract in 2000 in order to ensure BSkyB chose it as the supplier over PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The contract is understood to have been terminated in 2002 after failed attempts to renegotiate the terms, but EDS claimed some of its engineers remained on site until 2003.

In opening remarks, a barrister for BSkyB said that EDS had made a "dishonest" sales pitch for the contract, and that the firm had been negligent and deceitful in its presentation of what it would do. BSkyB has not yet commented further, but will continue to make its opening remarks today.

The terms of the contract are understood to have included a limited liability of £30 million. However, sources close to the case said this provision did not cover claims of misrepresentation therefore BSkyB has been able to claim well above that figure.

It is understood that EDS will not only dispute the case itself but challenge the disparity between the value of the contract, £48 million, and the £709 million sum it is being sued for.

The case is expected to run until April or May next year.

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