Google has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior alleging the bidding process for the government body's cloud-based email and collaboration system -- a deal worth roughly $59 million -- was skewed to favor its chief cloud computing rival, Microsoft.
With the lawsuit the contentious cloud computing conflict between Google and Microsoft has turned litigious. The suit alleges that the wording of the procurement documents and the DOI's selection process put the spotlight on Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), its cloud application software, over Google's Google Apps cloud email and collaboration offering.
According to the suit, which was filed by Google and Google reseller Onix Networking on Friday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the Department of Interior's request for a quote for an email and collaboration system was written in a way that excluded Google from the running and that it specifically stated that the solution had to be a part of the BPOS suite. In the suit, Google said its exclusion was "unduly restrictive of competition."
Google's lawsuit claims that Google had been in discussions with the DOI starting in June 2009 about the agency switching over to its Google Apps offerings. Google said that the conversations started before a request for quotation was issued and that Google representatives were told that the DOI would conduct a "full and open competition" for its cloud messaging system. The suit also recounts several communications between Google and the federal agency where Google pitched its Apps platform but is later denied in favor of Microsoft.
Despite being passed over for the deal, Google said in its lawsuit that Google Apps for Government could satisfy all of the Interior Department's requirements, but notes that the agency told Google that its offerings do not meet the agency's security requirements, which is why Google was left out of the running.
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