Google scored a legal victory this week when a judge blocked the U.S. Department of the Interior from deploying a new cloud-based e-mail system from Microsoft.
In November, Google sued the U.S. government, crying foul over language in a Department of Interior Request for Quotation (RFQ) that specifically requires Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) Federal suite in order to be considered for an email contract. Armed with the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984 (CCA), Google wanted the court to halt the Department of Interior’s bidding process until a “competitive procurement” is conducted.
In a ruling this week, Judge Susan Braden of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims wrote that Google has showed that the agency violated that CCA and that, without a preliminary injunction, "the award will put into motion the final migration of Interior’s e-mail system, achieve ’organizational lock-in’ for Microsoft, and cost Google the opportunity to compete,” the judge wrote, according to a Bloomberg report.
The government agency was reportedly set to award the contract later this month.
As much as Google would certainly like to win the contract from the government agency, the suit is about more than that. In a blog post in November, I argued that a Google victory in this case has less to do with winning a contract and more to do with gaining validation - a stamp of approval, if you will - from the federal government that says that Google is a valid, secure alternative to Microsoft.
While it certainly doesn't mean that the government will now choose Google over Microsoft, a government contracts lawyer told the Wall Street Journal that the decision makes it likely that the agency will re-think the bid and agree to give Google serious consideration.