BSkyB are suing EDS over a contract for a new IT system at the broadcaster’s Livingston and Dunfermline call centres, accusing them of negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract.
BSkyB hired EDS in 2000 to supply a new customer service platform for the 6000 staff in the centres, but ran into difficulties in the first twelve months. After redefining the project requirements, the system was handed over to BSkyB a year later in 2002, and the contract ended in December that year as BSkyB felt that EDS could not deliver the system in accordance with their contract. However, EDS claim that they ended the contract, not BSkyB.
A quick rummage in a filing cabinet should end that debate, though BSkyB claim to have consulted some 50,000 documents to come to the conclusion that EDS did not deliver what they signed up for.
The system has cost BSkyB about UK£170 million since 2000, and they are expected to fork out another UK£50 million to the two Scottish call centres until 2008. The broadcaster is now looking to sue for about UK£180 million to UK£240 million to get back lost revenue and effort.
EDS aren’t doing to well lately, having lost a number of high profile government contracts, notably with the Child Support Agency, NHS and Inland Revenue.
EDS have announced that they will be countersuing, as they claimed to be expecting this sort of behaviour from BSkyB. Given the size of the two companies and the nature of corporate litigation, this one will run and run.