Census Bureau Spends $1.3 Billion On Defective iPhone Like Handheld

January 30th, 2009
Bill Lazorik

Bloomberg posted an excellent article on the current state of federal contracting and the associated waste of tax payer funds. Billions are spent with little oversight and millions payed out in bonuses to companies that fail to deliver. One interesting example was the $1.3 billion spent by the Census Bureau for a handheld computer that would pinpoint the current address and allow for the electronic submission of census data. In comparison development costs for the original iPhone only ran about $150 million. Why contract with a defense company such as Harris when there were plenty of electronics manufacturers who already had capable devices? At least Lockheed had the sense to use modified PDAs in their DisOps system which was recently used for security at President Obama’s Inauguration. In the Bloomberg article Republican Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn says it best, “It’s ridiculous. They didn’t even perform competently. You could do what they tried to do on a cell phone.”

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