The Empire has struck back.
More than a year and a half after Google lured the city of Los Angeles to its Google Apps, Microsoft has poached a municipal government customer in the search engine's own backyard.
The city of San Francisco, Google's home away from its Mountain View, Calif., home, agreed to use Microsoft Exchange Online Web-based e-mail for its 23,000 employees.
As my eWEEK colleague Nick Kolakowski explained:
"San Francisco had apparently considered Lotus Notes and Google as possible email providers, but ultimately went with Microsoft because it provided interoperability with other software, including Windows Azure applications and Office products such as Word and PowerPoint. The technology underlying all the solutions apparently underwent a multiyear evaluation by the city's IT experts before a decision was made."
Yet San Fran never seriously considered Google or IBM. Microsoft gained this victory without any blood spilled as San Francisco failed to allow Google or IBM or compete. The city simply never sent out a requeSt for proposal to see what other vendors has to offer.
No RFP, no competition, as a Google spokesperson told me, taking a swipe at its rival:
"We're disappointed we didn't have an opportunity to compete for San Francisco's business. Through a competitive bid process, the majority of customers choose Google, and the rest get a great deal on their Microsoft license."
This isn't the first competitive swiping between the companies over cloud collaboration software.
Last year the Department of Interior selected Microsoft BPOS without even considering Google Apps, IBM, or anyone else. Google sued the DOI for failing to enable fair competition, and a court enjoined Microsoft and the DOI from doing business.
Google didn't say whether or not it would sue San Francisco for a similar reason. My guess is that's a small fish compared to the DOI deal, which is for $59 million and tens of thousands of employees over 5 years.
Microsoft in April showed its frustration over this move by painting Google as a liar over the way it advertised Google Apps as FISMA certified.
Google Apps for Business is certified so; Google Apps for Government is not, technically.
Microsoft's San Francisco coup means its Google's turn to hit back.