Google lost 13,000 Los Angeles Police Department Google Apps seats as part of its deal with the city. Microsoft was surprisingly quiet about the blow to its cloud computing rival.
Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Police Department
reneged on its agreement to replace its email
and collaboration software with
Google Apps, effectively removing 13,000 out of 30,000 seats Google had hoped
to serve as part of its municipal government contract with Los Angeles.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and systems
integrator CSC inked the deal with L.A. in August 2009. One month later, the LAPD
requested additional security requirements
. The matter came to light in October
this year when L.A. revealed
that Google and CSC have not been able to satisfy security requirements for the
LAPD regarding criminal justice information.
Specifically, the concern is that criminal justice
information contained in email must be protected in a way currently only
possible with on-premises email systems, such as Novell GroupWise and Microsoft
The LAPD is sticking with its long-standing GroupWise
implementation, and Google has agreed to pay $350,000 a year
for the department to remain on GroupWise as a sign of
good faith. The city's other 17,000 employees in 36 departments are using
Google spent a lot of money and engineering resources-it wouldn't say exactly how much-to meet the government's demands. In the
end, it didn't work out. Google sounded regretful about the business decision
before turning optimistic in an email to eWEEK
"We're disappointed that the city introduced
requirements for the LAPD after the contract was signed that are, in its own
words, 'currently incompatible with cloud computing.' We
realize this means the LAPD will not be joining the 17,000 other City employees
successfully using Google Apps. Even so, Los Angeles taxpayers have already
saved more than two million dollars and the City expects to save millions more
in the years ahead."
Google's setback would naturally lend itself as a
tempting target for Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which pits its own Office 365
suite versus Google Apps and wastes few opportunities to denigrate its rival's
, practices and business model.
However, a Microsoft spokesperson simply told eWEEK
"Our approach to productivity is guided by the desire to work
where and how our customers do-in the cloud, on premises or some combination
of the two. We have made deep
investments in security, privacy, and compliance. These investments have enabled more people
and businesses around the world to use our productivity tools with
Why did Microsoft take the high road instead of pot shots
at its cloud collaboration rival? Only Microsoft's Office 365 marketing team
can say for sure.
One reason could be that Microsoft knows and understands
the intricacies and complexities that go along with landing, securing and
fulfilling government technology contracts.
Earlier this year, Google withdrew its lawsuit versus the Department of Interior
government agency decided to forgo procuring a competing email and collaboration
system from Microsoft without looking at other vendors.
The DOI in 2009 selected Microsoft's Business
Productivity Online Suite (BPOS)-Federal software suite, agreeing to pay the
software giant $59.3 million for its 88,000 employees to use the Web services
over five years.
Google sued the DOI last October in the U.S. Court of
Federal Claims, claiming the government agency selected Microsoft without
pursuing alternatives such as Google Apps.
In any case, Google's failure to secure the LAPD's confidence
should be seen more as a political power struggle between the police
department's IT manager and the city's IT department than a demonization of
Google Apps, which the General Services Administration
and other government municipalities support.
All's fair in love and war in the cloud. Google and
Microsoft's cloud collaboration battle remains alive and well heading into