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

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

Summary: 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.

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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.

Topics: CXO, Collaboration, Google, Microsoft

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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131 comments
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  • RE: Google gets court to block Microsoft Interior Department e-mail win

    Aww Google had a hissy fit and went complaining again. There is a reason they weren't chosen, their services aren't any good. Microsoft had the best solution for what the DOI was looking for and they chose accordingly. Now every time someone doesn't use Google are they going to get a court order? I guess I should be expecting one in the mail as well then.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Google gets court to block Microsoft Interior Department e-mail win

      @Loverock Davidson
      Umm, I'm pretty sure the article says that Google didn't have a chance to be chosen - they didn't qualify. Google is complaining about the qualifications to entry.
      On the other hand, if the DOI has rationale to back up their RFP, then I don't know why Google gets to complain. However, in this city, vendors regularly complain if they feel they have been unfairly kept out of an RF* process. It's part of what makes the companies accountable, open and fair. Especially governments.
      rossdav
      • You got it exactly

        @rossdav@...

        "Google is complaining about the qualifications to entry"

        That's right! They didn't qualify, because they didn't meet the requirements. They couldn't offer what the DOI wanted, so PFFFTTT to them!
        Joe_Raby
      • RE: Google gets court to block Microsoft Interior Department e-mail win

        @rossdav@...
        They didn't have a chance because their software didn't meet the needs of the DOI.
        Loverock Davidson
      • When the qualifications say "Microsoft or nothing,"...

        @rossdav@... : ... then I would loudly complain too, especially if I had a competing product that wasn't even given the chance to compete.
        Vulpinemac
      • RE: Google gets court to block Microsoft Interior Department e-mail win

        @Loverock@...
        "They didn't have a chance because their software didn't meet the needs of the DOI."

        Yeah, because the requirements were "company that starts with M and ends with t", which is what Google is complaining about.

        From what I understand, Google is complaining because the DOI restricted bids on the project to companies providing solutions using Microsoft's cloud.
        DarkPhoenixFF4
      • Vulpine/Dark Phonenix are your posts just hot air?

        Can you, vulpine, provide links to the RFP language you are claiming exists?
        such as "Microsoft or nothing". Are you claiming the RFP contained that statement and please, again, provide that link.
        I think it's obvious you are against MS being awarded any contract at any time and are unwilling to look at the facts, such as the needs of the DOI vs what Google can offer. There was no compatibility there. Simply put, Google did not have what they required. Should I complain because my business was not selected?
        hmmm? I never got an RFP on it. And I'm fighting mad. lol.
        (you'd better watch for your subpoena for your libelous statement. lol)

        Or, can Dark Phonenix back up this statement:
        <i>Yeah, because the requirements were "company that starts with M and ends with t", which is what Google is complaining about.</i>
        Please provide a link that shows this language existed on the RFP, or don't bother posting what amounts to libel against the DOI. You'll be lucky if you don't get a document delivered to your house soon.....a subpoena.
        xuniL_z
      • RE: Google gets court to block Microsoft Interior Department e-mail win

        The DOI justified its restriction of acceptable products to Microsoft because of Microsoft???s unified/consolidated e-mail and enhanced security features. <a rel="follow" href="http://www.courseworkexpert.co.uk/">Coursework</a>
        Karston1234
    • When the RFP is written to explicitly exclude certain vendors its not legal

      @Loverock Davidson ..... Its not a question of a hissy fit, its a question of paid bribes and bogus RFP's, the gov is famous for them. Google is calling them out.
      Reality Bites
      • RE: Google gets court to block Microsoft Interior Department e-mail win

        @Reality Bites

        It is when there are considerations of interoperability, security, and accredidation.

        MS products have been NIST certified. Google products haven't been. If MS offers the only product in the required product space that meets the required and identified needs, and is the only one that meets the certification and accredidation products, it is the only product that CAN be considered.

        Google will lose this if NIST certification was one of the underlying selection criteria.

        Oh, and there are OTHER reasons, as well, to not go with Google in the era of Wikileaks. There was the PRIVATE Cloud requirements; to my knowledge, Google doesn't have a private cloud, they have a virtual private cloud, which means that the data is still stored under Google's control, not the DOIs, on Google's servers, not the DOIs.
        Bill Ward
      • RE: Google gets court to block Microsoft Interior Department e-mail win

        @Reality Bites
        I think the bidding was pretty fair, its just that Google's services did not meet the needs of the DOI therefore wasn't chosen or even considered.
        Loverock Davidson
      • RE: Google gets court to block Microsoft Interior Department e-mail win

        @Reality Bites - Sure it is. You write a requirements document, and then only select the companies that meet the requirements. If there is only one, then you only evaluate one company. Happens all the time. It is only a problem if that limitation is engineered to exclude everyone but the current favorite. But if the requirements state that it has to be a private cloud, and Google doesn't offer that, then it is right that they were excluded. That is what the lawsuit is about. <br><br>My experience from big pharma was that vendors get miffed anytime they are shut out of a big contract. They are all full of excuses when confronted with the fact that they don't have features or systems that are deemed necessary by those specifying what is needed. But in the end, it is all in the requirements. Those that don't have it don't get to compete.
        always-a-geek2
      • HAHAHA What crap! googles solution sucks. period.

        and now they're being whiny little cry babies and wasting our tax dollars. The RFP was written to exclude insecure crap and that's all that google has. Nothing illegal happened.
        Johnny Vegas
    • RE: Google gets court to block Microsoft Interior Department e-mail win

      @Loverock Davidson
      If they were taking bids that means companies were "supposed" to bid on them. Unfortunately, Microsoft gets away with everything. Including getting around the truth in advertising law. (Kinect anyone? You can't play that in a crowded room with a lot of people around.) Truth in advertising means if they show something doing something it has to do it. Unfortunately, Microsuck has been getting around that for years. 95 is no different from 98 and XP wasn't (codewise) much different then NT. With MS you get screwed. I'd rather put my money in Linux and Google then Live and Microsuck.
      Toque_3D
      • RE: Google gets court to block Microsoft Interior Department e-mail win

        @Toque_3D
        Your rant was completely off topic. Google wasn't a consideration because their services don't meet the needs of the DOI. Google just needs to accept that fact and move on.
        Loverock Davidson
      • But by your own argument...

        @Toque_3D

        You admit that you wouldn't give Micro"suck" the same chance you would give google, yet you want things to be equal. That, my friend, is a double standard.

        Similarly, if the DOI is shopping for gas weed eaters, which MS provides, does Google get to sue because they only offer electric weed eaters? Even though that's not what DOI stated [i]up front[/i] they wanted. Same Difference.
        SonofaSailor
    • RE: Google gets court to block Microsoft Interior Department e-mail win

      @Loverock Davidson

      <b> Now every time someone doesn't use Google are they going to get a court order? I guess I should be expecting one in the mail as well then. </b>

      I had a good laugh at that for some reason.
      PlayFair
      • RE: Google gets court to block Microsoft Interior Department e-mail win

        @PlayFair
        You too failed to read or understand the complaint.
        choyongpil
      • RE: Google gets court to block Microsoft Interior Department e-mail win

        @PlayFair
        ...for some reason?

        I've you got one in your mail already?
        temidayoj@...
      • temidayoj

        <i>I've you got one in your mail already?
        </i>
        Is this something you interpreted from another language into english and it lost it's original meaning, or what?
        xuniL_z