Office 365, Google Apps Score 50,000-Seat Wins In DoD Contract

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Both Google and Microsoft have each been approved to sell 50,000 seats of their software to the Department of Defense, the companies confirmed Monday, though the bidding war isn't quite over yet.

Microsoft, with cloud services partner Dell, was awarded 50,000 seats with the Department of Defense (DoD) under a blanket purchase agreement approved by the U.S. Army Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems. The U.S. Army will also offer Google Apps to 50,000 Army and DoD personnel, a Google spokesperson told CRN. The PEO EIS did not respond to CRN's request for comment.

The blanket purchase agreement means that any level of the DoD can take advantage of the thousands of seats without competition. However, the software seats have designations and will not be paid for until they are assigned to a specific command, Curt Kolcun, vice president of Microsoft's U.S. public sector, told CRN.

[Related: Study: Cloud Computing Cuts $5.5 Billion Annually From Federal Budget]

"The effort it will take to sell Office 365 into the various commands is just beginning," Kolcun said.

Kolcun said the different departments under the DoD can choose from a variety of Microsoft's on-premise, private, public, hybrid or combination cloud offerings, depending on the different needs of each.

"This effort is part of the U.S. Army's program to use commercial cloud services to improve collaboration, information sharing and mobile access for the men and women who serve our country. We look forward to working closely with the Army on this project," a Google spokesperson told CRN.

The contract fits into the DoD's Cloud Computing Strategy to utilize more commercial cloud companies to grow collaboration and cut costs. The Department of the Interior is also currently in the middle of choosing among 10 companies to make its own $10 billion transition to the cloud.

However, Kolcun said, the move to cloud-based Office 365 won't be a huge overhaul for the government department.

"This is not a 'switch' for the DoD. In reality, it adds to the already existing email services being provided. Office 365, combined with the existing solutions available from DISA, will offer a powerful range of capabilities that will increase mission effectiveness and reduce costs," Kolcun told CRN.


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