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Google Sues US Government Charging Microsoft Favoritism

Google claims an Interior Department RFQ is “anti-competitive”

Google and its reseller Onix Networking Corporation have sued the US government claiming that Microsoft is a pet of the Interior Department.

Google is protesting the terms of a Request for Quotation (RFQ) that the agency issued for hosted e-mail and collaboration services.

It claims the RFQ is anti-competitive (ha, now the shoe's on the other foot) and specifies only Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS)-Federal after it was assured its cloud-based government-only Google Apps would be considered.

It was told at one point its security wasn't up to snuff. Google claims the agency never listened to its pitch. The Interior Department apparently wanted a private cloud, which Google says isn't required by law for security certification, but then the agency settled for one it would share with other federal agencies anyway.

Google wants the RFQ enjoined and the ongoing 5,000-seat Microsoft pilot stopped. It claims the agency's "Limited Source Justification" is "arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, and otherwise contrary to law" and that its stuff can meet or exceed the Interior Department's requirements. Google's widgetry is complaint with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and BPOS-Federal isn't yet.

The General Services Administration (GSA), the government's quartermaster, tossed out a Google protest a few days ago.

The Interior Department, which is standardized on Microsoft Office, has 88,000 users and the deal to unify its 13 disparate e-mail systems could be worth about $59 million - at least for Microsoft. Google argues its solution would be cheaper, more secure and more outage-free.

Meanwhile, New York University and its 60,000 students, staff and faculty, the largest private school in America, is going with Google Apps to save itself about $400,000 a year in servers and licenses. It currently uses something called SquirreMail.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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