Google gets court to block Microsoft Interior Department e-mail win

In early November 2010, Google sued the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), claiming the agency unfairly excluded it from a bid for a new hosted e-mail system contract that Microsoft won. On January 5, the U.S. Federal Claims Court temporarily blocked Microsoft from proceeding with the $49.3 million, five-year DOI contract.

In early November 2010, Google sued the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), claiming the agency unfairly excluded it from a bid for a new hosted e-mail system contract that Microsoft won.

On January 5, the U.S. Federal Claims Court temporarily blocked Microsoft from proceeding with the $49.3 million, five-year DOI contract.

In its suit, Google said the DOI didn't consider Google Apps in its Request for Quotation (RFQ). The DOI RFQ specified that the DOI was looking for a new, unified e-mail, calendaring and collaboration solution, but limited the acceptable options to Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) Federal suite only.

According to the complaint, the DOJ specified that it needed a private-cloud solution for security reasons. BPOS Federal is a dedicated, locked-down version of BPOS that is basically like a privately hosted version of Microsoft’s Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Communications Online and Live Meeting. Google Apps for Government is a multi-tenant hosted solution.

The DOI justified its restriction of acceptable products to Microsoft because of Microsoft’s unified/consolidated e-mail and enhanced security features.

I asked Microsoft officials for comment on what it plans to do, going forward.  No response back yet.

Not really an answer to my question, but from a Microsoft spokesperson:

“The Department of the Interior determined that the dedicated, U.S.-based cloud solution offered by Microsoft met its minimum security and other requirements after a careful and thorough evaluation, and that Google’s solution did not. The judge’s decision does not address this fundamental determination. We believe the full record will demonstrate that this award is in the best interest of the government and taxpayers.”

Google has complained before about being barred from bidding on a government contract against Microsoft. Google complained earlier this year that the state of California blocked the company from being considered in an e-mail system bid. The State ended up awarding the contract to Microsoft and its partner CSC despite Google’s objections, and claimed Google was unable to meet its requirements.

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