Google drops its suit over alleged Microsoft bias in government bid for hosted-cloud platform

Google drops its suit over alleged Microsoft bias in government bid for hosted-cloud platform

Summary: Google has dropped its suit against the U.S. Department of the Interior, claiming that the agency has changed its stance to allow the company to bid against Microsoft for a $49.3 million cloud-hosted apps contract.

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Google has dropped its lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior over the agency's plans to use Microsoft's cloud-hosted application suite without considering Google's Google Apps alternative.

Google dropped the suit last week, according to seattlepi.com, because the DOI agreed to scrap its plan to consider only Microsoft options for a $49.3 million, five-year contract. The U.S. Federal Claims court dismissed the Google suit, and the agency seems to be preparing a new request for quotation (RFQ) that doesn't exclude Google Apps, the PI said.

Google filed suit against the DOI in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on October 29, 2010. The suit was in response to a DOI RFQ 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.

The federal market has proven to be a fierce Google-Microsoft cloud-suite battleground. The pair have dueled over not just contracts and customers, but also what FISMA certification means in the cloud-app space.

Topics: Microsoft, Apps, CXO, Cloud, Collaboration, Google, Government, Government US, Security

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: Google drops its suit over alleged Microsoft bias in government bid for hosted-cloud platform

    By doing so, Google's thought may have been, let the uptime be the decider.
    Return_of_the_jedi
  • Smart move

    It's never a smart thing to alienate your potential future customers by suing them with a baseless lawsuit.
    Your Non Advocate
    • RE: Google drops its suit over alleged Microsoft bias in government bid for hosted-cloud platform

      @facebook@...

      A judge agreed with Google, baseless no.
      daikon
      • RE: Google drops its suit over alleged Microsoft bias in government bid for hosted-cloud platform

        @daikon - Just because a judge agreed with Google doesn't mean the judge made a *wise* decision. He/she may not have all the facts, he/she may not be aware of the limitations Google has in the space, etc.

        Example: When last I looked up the requirements for this contract, the DOI wanted a selfhosted cloud solution (meaning the DOI hosted the cloud internally to their organization) and Google couldn't supply that but Microsoft could. Can Google supply it now?
        PollyProteus
      • RE: Google drops its suit over alleged Microsoft bias in government bid for hosted-cloud platform

        @PollyProteus

        You can disagree with judges decision. The decision was made, life goes on.

        Google Apps for Government meet the requirement in 2010 and continues today.
        daikon
    • RE: Google drops its suit over alleged Microsoft bias in government bid for hosted-cloud platform

      @facebook@...

      Definitely not baseless. This is a large a government contract. The DOI was assuming only BPOS could satisfy their needs because it's the only system they knew about. Mind you, the whole purpose of a RFQ is to discover the available options. Who says Google isn't willing to assemble a dedicated system for DOI if it is deemed profitable? They already have the technology. Its not that hard to securely partition a chunk of hardware and network for it.

      I've gone through this at work many times. For example, when we built a new data center I commented, "We should get a whole building UPS. These individual UPS units are kind of a pain for what we are doing. The electrician standing next to me commented that he'd never seen a datacenter using rack mount UPS units. He always installed a whole building UPS." I was shot down on the spot with, "A UPS that big costs $100,000! We can't afford that!" So we spent $12,000 on individual UPS units. Well, there's no redundancy on these things and they suck for about 9 other reasons (batteries, unreliable transfers, etc). So after a few years I was put in charge of this stuff, oddly enough, and these UPS units continued to be a pain. And for other reasons we discovered we needed to build the data center over from scratch. So I put out a RFQ for a centralized UPS. $10,000 from the same manufacturer as these units. So, I've had $12,000 worth of headache, hassle and sleepless nights for years when I could have had $10,000 of redundant awesomeness for $13,000 (UPS + electrician) and 24/7 service for a couple hundred bucks a year on top of that.

      Moral of the story, because the person in charge of purchasing assumed the only option was really expensive he circumvented the RFQ process and actually created years of unreliable service and mental anguish for employees.
      cabdriverjim
      • Google's opinion

        @cabdriverjim

        The RFQ was rather explicit. The business requirements for integration were paramount. Google simply lacked the functionality to address the needs of their customer.

        Although your anecdotal tale is entertaining, it actually supports my assessment. Google offered the low cost alternative solution (the rack mount UPS) but the government picked the Microsoft solution (The solution that actually met the government needs.
        Your Non Advocate
    • RE: Google drops its suit over alleged Microsoft bias in government bid for hosted-cloud platform

      @facebook@... You missed something important -- this wasn't going to be their customer _unless_ they sued.

      RFQs, by law, need to state requirements, not brands. If, as you say "The business requirements for integration were paramount. Google simply lacked the functionality to address the needs of their customer," then there was no reason to limit the bids to just MS. Leave the requirements in and find out what's available.

      The RFQs are going to be rewritten to be fairer. How is that bad? According to you, there can only be one winner, anyway so it makes no difference.
      daengbo
      • That is a logical fallacy called begging the question

        @daengbo

        This is the standard "begging the question" logical fallacy.

        The RFQ had a list of features required. Google did not have the features. Therefore the RFQ was wrong.


        How is this tolerable? How should a private company tell another organization how it should conduct its own business? "The RFQs are going to be rewritten to be fairer?" That is utter nonsense.
        Your Non Advocate
      • RE: Google drops its suit over alleged Microsoft bias in government bid for hosted-cloud platform

        @facebook
        The RFQs are going to be rewritten so that they are no longer simply orders for the Microsoft service. Why are you so angry at the idea of more than one company being allowed to bid on a project. This court ruling is the correct ruling whichever company is excluded from even offering a quote. Are you a fan of kick backs and bribes? If the Google product can't make the grade security wise their quote will be rejected. But not allowing a competing company to quote a job and in fact specifying in the RFQ that only one company's product will be allowed to win is a good way to end up with $500 toilet seats. This isn't about your anti-Google bias. This is about free market competition. This is about avoiding government bloat and my taxes not going up because of single-bidder contracts.
        mdeans@...
  • Translation: We have no case

    I'm not an MS fan .... but Google's offer was complete garbage. Anybody thinking that Google Docs is a solution for anything beyond basic text (if even that) is living in fantasy land.
    wackoae
    • RE: Google drops its suit over alleged Microsoft bias in government bid for hosted-cloud platform

      @wackoae <br>Yet City, State Governments and Colleges would disagree with you.
      daikon
      • RE: Google drops its suit over alleged Microsoft bias in government bid for hosted-cloud platform

        @daikon But not our users here. They agree with that statement. "Google collaboration is nice, but it's features are so weak that our dept. relegates it to basic work where we need to share. Anything beyond that and it fails miserably".

        From our users when using Google docs and why won't you use it more. Gov't/University IT groups are not know for their wise decisions...
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: Google drops its suit over alleged Microsoft bias in government bid for hosted-cloud platform

        @daikon maybe the accountants disagree, because it is cheaper, but for those of us using the system, Google Apps for Government only has about half the features of Exchange and Sharepoint. I still use Outlook to connect to gmail, as a web based email client just can't do what I need.
        grayknight
    • RE: Google drops its suit over alleged Microsoft bias in government bid for hosted-cloud platform

      @wackoae Agreed, it didn't help their image - sound like a whiny liberal mantra "Not fair, not fair, not fair". Just means they are going to lose on "fair" and have more egg on their face. Who knows, but they have not been well received here - but they are getting better.
      ItsTheBottomLine
    • RE: Google drops its suit over alleged Microsoft bias in government bid for hosted-cloud platform

      @wackoae it is not that Googles offer did not fit the bill it is that they were not even allowed to make an offer because they were not M$
      carlson1@...
  • RE: Google drops its suit over alleged Microsoft bias in government bid for hosted-cloud platform

    So using the courts does work when you can't compete in the marketplace. It's sad when a large corporation with a "Do no evil" mantra acts like a two year old. It's worse when it actually works.
    Skippy99
    • Not true...What is worst......

      @Skippy99

      Is companies like Microsoft who buy their influence to extend and exterminate any competition, those like you who support them.

      The courts however, rightfully corrected that, making a more level playing field. Now Microsoft can lose fairly...LOL!!!
      linux for me
      • RE: Google drops its suit over alleged Microsoft bias in government bid for hosted-cloud platform

        @linux for me - and if they don't lose and Gov't still picks MS where does that put you? on the wrong side - yet again.
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: Google drops its suit over alleged Microsoft bias in government bid for hosted-cloud platform

        @linux for me, how do you know they buy their influence? Mostly it has to do with the fact that they already have various products and solutions in place. It is always difficult for competitors to bring in their products when the other's products are already in use.

        I am glad that the DOI is looking at both now, but the delay is costing us as taxpayers more money. I doubt Google's offering will be chosen, since it isn't nearly as good. So several months if not a year is wasted.
        grayknight