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

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.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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.

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