A federal court judge enjoined the Department of Interior from picking Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite without considering Google first.
Google got a boost in its battle versus Microsoft when a federal judge froze
the Department of Interior from accepting Microsoft's Business Productivity
Online Suite for e-mail and collaboration software.
Federal Judge Susan Braden issued a preliminary injunction to prevent the
Interior Department from deciding to use Microsoft BPOS for its 88,000
employees without mulling Google Apps as an option. The five-year deal is worth
up to $60 million.
The stay comes two months after Google sued
the agency, asking that it be enjoined from pursuing a
contract with Microsoft because the department's request for proposal unfairly
excluded Google Apps by stating the system had to include Microsoft BPOS.
Braden agreed that the Interior Department may have violated rules about
competition in contracting. She said the agency must reconsider and that the
department's exclusion of Google Apps "cannot be explained as an
Braden's word is hardly final; the Department can appeal any final decision
by her to a higher court.
A Google spokesperson told eWEEK, "As a proponent of open competition
on the Internet and in the technology sector in general, we're pleased with the
Microsoft argued that the Interior Department concluded Google Apps did not
meet minimum security requirements, while BPOS did.
"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."
The department may have a tough time arguing this claim with Braden and any
appeals court considering that Google this summer won FISMA
certification from the General Service
Administration, which found the suite secure enough for its own use.
The GSA would go on to tap Google
to provide an e-mail and collaboration software
contract for its 15,000 employees. Microsoft would achieve FISMA from the GSA
However, the Interior Department might have some wiggle room for its
justification. Other government groups recognized FISMA, but all have different
levels of requirements that must be met.
Google's small victory is likely ringing loud in the halls of Google's
enterprise group, which has been slugging it out with Microsoft to win highly coveted
Google is the current cloud collaboration market leader, with more than 3
million businesses on Google Apps. But Microsoft's enterprise clout from the
last 20 years of legacy e-mail makes it the prohibitive favorite for most
traditional large businesses.
Securing government deals, which cover hundreds of thousands of federal
employees, puts more wood behind cloud computing systems because it signals to
enterprises what solutions are safe and reliable.
The bidding has intensified as federal agencies have a government-wide goal
of migrating their existing e-mail systems from on-premises solutions such as
Microsoft Exchange and IBM Lotus Notes to
Google also argued it was shut out from consideration by the U.S.
Agriculture Department, which agreed
to move 120,000 to Microsoft BPOS in December.