Electronic Data Systems, EDS, has withdrawn its bid for the UK government data network, GDN, systems integration and facilities manangement contract, issued at the end of 1986. EDS, which announced that it was bidding in conjunction with Canada’s Northern Telecom in December 1986 in competition with four other consortia, claims that it considers there are better commercial opportunities elswhere; this is despite the government’s announcement that the contract will be one of the largest computer contracts it has placed. And since EDS was the lead bidder in its consortium, Northern Telecom has also been forced to withdraw. The Canadian company says it considers that its joint proposal with EDS was technically feasible and that it is now considering teaming up with another partner. The other four consortia bidding are: Cable and Wireless with ICL; British Telecom with Computer Sciences Corp; Racal-Milgo with Scicon; and Plessey with CAP. The government’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency is setting up a shared data network, linking the Department of Health and Social Security, Inland Revenue, Customs & Excise and Home Office over X25 lines. Based on Open Systems Interconnection standards, the contract will cover systems integration as well as facilities management. Other companies bidding for the contract have said that EDS did not stand a chance, given that its consortium was entirely foreign and in view of reports on its employment practices, the latest of which described how one departing UK employee who had been through EDS’s four-year training programme was then asked to repay the sum invested by EDS. A statement of service requirement for the network was issued to the five consortia in January and responses are due on February 19. A short list of a couple of consortia is expected by mid-March and the contract will be let in the autumn of 1987.