Google sues US government for only considering Microsoft

By on November 2, 2010, 12:58 PM
Google has filed a suit against the United States government for only considering Microsoft solutions when looking at options to improve their messaging functionality, according to TechDirt. Google Apps was not on the government's table and the search giant is arguing that restricting the Request for Quotation (RFQ), a document asking companies to design a solution and quote a price, to Microsoft is "unduly restrictive of competition."

The US is defending its position by claiming that Google was not considered in the RFQ because Redmond offered two things that Mountain View didn't: Unified Mail/Messaging, and "enhanced security." In the RFQ, the Department of Interior (DOI) specifically stated that the solution had to be part of the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite according to the 37-page court filing. Google pointed out to the DOI that Microsoft has had downtime issues in the past and insisted that Google Apps is a suitable alternative.

If the DOI really ends up having to fight Google in court, and loses, it could mean bad news for Microsoft, which has been the de facto choice for most governments around the world. If news gets out that Google offers a viable alternative, as ruled in an American court, Microsoft will start to feel the heat. This lawsuit will likely have implications for the cloud war that is coming in the years ahead.

"Google is a proponent of open competition on the Internet and in the technology sector in general," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "Here, a fair and open process could save US taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and result in better services. We're asking the Department of Interior to allow for a true competition when selecting its technology providers."





User Comments: 43

Got something to say? Post a comment
Prosercunus said:

What? You can sue over something as stupid? That is interesting.

frodough said:

i thought when big companies dont get what they want they simply throw money at it or throw money at lobbyists to make it better

hassaan said:

Despite the image, from the article it looks that the bid was actually about email systems. And if you compare MS Exchange to Gmail, MS is a failure feature-wise.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

"Google is a proponent of open competition on the Internet and in the technology sector in general," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "Here, a fair and open process could save US taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and result in better services. We're asking the Department of Interior to allow for a true competition when selecting its technology providers."

What exactly would a court filing look like for something like this; "our monopoly's better than their monopoly"?

Or maybe, "we're pissed because we didn't think of stifling competition first"?

hassaan said:

Full article:

[link]

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Despite the image, from the article it looks that the bid was actually about email systems. And if you compare MS Exchange to Gmail, MS is a failure feature-wise.

You are comparing oranges with apples here, gmail is pretty much irrelevant on most corporate networks; so next time make a comment which make some logical sense.

What exactly would a court filing look like for something like this; "our monopoly's better than their monopoly"?

Probably, or it will be something like this 'give us all the information you have, so we can put it in something cloudy (allowing anyone with brains and enough time to crack and get all info what they want) ........ and it will be (un)safe in our hands.

Also, I think generally (corporate / governments) buyers tends to tilt towards vendors/suppliers who have already worked with them or provided them services earlier on, so in my view the decision by US Govt (involved department/agency) make sense.

On the other hand, I think it will be good contest as taking things to court won't bother MS much as that is where they've spent most of their time in last few years. So, perhaps, soon we may see something filed against google just to drain its resource, as obviously google doesn't have as much cash reserves as does MS.

flocka said:

LOOOOL, WOW, GOOD LUCK....ALL I CAN SAY

flocka said:

Take away Outlook from users in the governmet and you will have another civil war.

every contract i've worked on for DOD, DOE, DOT, Microsoft Exchange server Requires at least a %98.00 availability rate to its users or that company is going to blow a HUGE SLA.

Xero07 said:

Questions:

How do you argue someone didn't consider something? how much debate over something must there be before something is considered to have been considered?

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Well the real question is ..... why would someone create a mess by deploying something new in their infrastructure, which may not work with the existing systems, hence wastage of time and money. Every update or new implementation in such environment requires lots of planning, test runs etc., and ultimately the cost effectiveness along with ease of deployment. Frankly, I've done this a lot of times during my days as head of IT department for my employer. Being a dictator can have their plus sides .... when you need them

Guest said:

I'm going to sue every retail store in the country for not considering selling my product.

spyx said:

Hmmmmm, considering the one who is suing i would say the Goverment might lose this one ....but it does seem like a reasonable thing to do, I hope they dont go overboard....

sMILEY4ever said:

captaincranky said:

"Google is a proponent of open competition on the Internet and in the technology sector in general," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "Here, a fair and open process could save US taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and result in better services. We're asking the Department of Interior to allow for a true competition when selecting its technology providers."

What exactly would a court filing look like for something like this; "our monopoly's better than their monopoly"?

Or maybe, "we're pissed because we didn't think of stifling competition first"?

I agree. No matter which one is right, they'll both remain strong.

Guest said:

i'm going to sue every retail store in the country for not considering selling my product.

high five!!!

mpribe said:

No bid contracts? Never . . .

treeski treeski said:

...Redmond offered two things that Mountain View didn't: Unified Mail/Messaging, and "enhanced security."

If there is something Google didn't offer that was required, I don't see how there is any potential argument.

Guest said:

DOI had cited security reasons in regard to choosing Microsoft over Google, yet

Google has passed the government's FISMA security certification while Microsoft has not.

Unless you've lived under a rock for the past decade , you know that

as relates to security , giving users Microsoft products is akin to

giving a drowning man a cement life vest.

The law requires competitive bidding, and tailoring a RFP to a specific and in this case deficient

vendor is a violation of that law. Google is correct to sue, and indeed should win that suit with ease.

fadownjoo said:

wether they win or not, google just got some good advertising with ths case.

EDO219 said:

I find it highly unlikely that Google will win this lawsuit, but if they do, then what exactly would be the legal precedent that this would set? Could companies within the private sectors sue potential partners for not properly considering their products and services, or would such a precedent only apply to the public sectors?

manintech said:

Since when google starts suing other people? They are being sued in almost every country

pheonixnexus said:

the US should have contacted everyone (Microsoft and Google) who makes the product (mail service in this case) get a description of what the have or can make and price quote. choose one based on price, how good it is and if it meets their requirements.

In other words the government is required BY LAW to give companies a chance to offer products and then select the best for the price

from what the article say it seem Google feels it wasn't considered fairly and is suing for money it could have gotten from the contract. although the article also mentions Google didn't have a "GSA schedule contract" apparently something they consider necessary to sell to the US Government.

Google just might have enough grounds to sue

IAMTHESTIG said:

I work for a state government agency... and we use a lot of Microsoft products, including Exchange. We don't even want to consider using an web-based e-mail solution hosted by a company. Information security is high priority in government, and having your entire email communication system hosted by a company is not considered a safe option. The government would not have control over its data, Google would... That would mean there is the potential of someone hacking, or even more likely a google employee or employee of one of their data centers accessing government e-mails.

Now if google could offer their service in a stand-alone software package that could be installed and controlled on government hardware, in a government datacenter, then I could see the potential of google being considered.

ruzveh said:

Why to fight man. Love each other

Recipe7 Recipe7 said:

Keeping their data strictly on Microsoft really narrows their capability to promote safety and security of their information. It's best they should outsource and look for companies that have a good track record of safeguarding information. From the way I see it, the most important information is on hardcopy, so there shouldn't be toooo much risk.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Could companies within the private sectors sue potential partners for not properly considering their products and services, or would such a precedent only apply to the public sectors?

How do you argue that 'your product is not properly considered' in court? Business deals are not always in a way where best possible solution is bought by the buyer, rather it is the case of what suites them best and is cost effective. So google should suck it up and move on, haven't they learned yet from the negative behavior in the last couple year has only resulted in more and more regulating authorities taking notice of their practices.

hitech0101 said:

The government knows what's best to keep everything secure.Why google wants a share in everything.go ahead sue the government let's see what happens.

uttaradhaka said:

It'll be funny if the US government loses and is asked to relinquish the rights to the country!! Sewing the government, oh the audacity!

fritz123 said:

google's gonna take over the govenment oh noes. i dont know if its a good thing that google want in on everything nowadays. can they really push the government to use google? i think google is going too far in suing something with such authority. what you guys think?

kaonis92 said:

Microsoft is out there for much longer but Google has better offerings in that area google might be right.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Microsoft is out there for much longer but Google has better offerings in that area google might be right.

Just because you say so? I am unsure how that help google's case any way? Haven't you got the slightest idea that Government is the biggest corporation in any country; and corporations make decisions which make 'reasonable' business sense and as I said earlier are 'cost effective'; subsequently this also means the systems must be easy to fit into existing infrastructure. So in such a situation it isn't bad at all to ignore alternatives and stick with what is working for you. That is why I don't think its about google or for MS for that matter.

theruck said:

how can somebody sue somebody for his own will? if i want a good car i will pickup what i like, not doing a competition for specifications like color, topspeed etc. if i like MS windows i will buy it and install. why does it have to be different on government level? how can the court possibly end?

Puiu Puiu said:

they only go for microsoft because they don't know anything else and are afraid of learning something new.

dawgtothebone said:

I sense..Google is now one step closer with their diabolical plans...in taking over the world. mwahahahah. :p.

This shall be the lawsuit of the century if the U.S government losses.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

It seems the civil rights act now applies to monopolies.

Guest said:

Just to clear something up that some people seem to be confused about...

Governments and public agencies are required to consider different options and pick the ones that are the cheapest while meeting the requirements.

Private companies/people are not.

The reason for this is that the government doesn't spend the government's money - they spend YOUR money (assuming you pay taxes). While a private company/person is generally spending their own money.

For example, a company decides to get all of their employees $4,000 Alienware laptops to do their documents and spreadsheets, just because that was the only company they considered, when a $400 computer from another company would easily meet the requirements.

If it's a private company, who cares (aside from the people who own stock in said company).

But if it's the government (spending your tax money), then there's a problem.

I don't really care one way or the other about the actual topic, just wanted to clear that little bit up for people. :)

Rest easy, Google won't sue you for not considering using Gmail.

...yet. ;P

theruck said:

the idea is clear but the result of spent money would be the same or even worse. also if windows usage is quite a general knowledge of all the goverment employees i would not go for goodle software and invest into trainings... its not that easy and if somebody has given me a vote to be in government there i go. i pickup on my best will. i know fairy tales

jazboy said:

this will be good thing if US start using Google's service. They can save lot of money which can put on some development work.

coolhandz84 said:

The military has been using windows since the beginning, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. All of their IT's are windows trained, so why would they spend millions on training for whole new system. Plus the military doesn't need all of the extra "bells and whistles", people complain enough about where taxpayer money is going, especially when government employees set up their iGoogle accounts and other features.

stwongbad85 said:

Prosercunus said:

What? You can sue over something as stupid? That is interesting.

no one thought that it was stupid when the US gov. gave out "no bid contracts" during the most recent Iraq War.

.

This is anti-competitive behavior that Microsoft and the US gov have been guilty of in their own rights for decades.

.

And the bottom line is that when it comes to cyber security in any sector of our Government, their should be no compromises just because a piece of technology has to fit into some b.s. microsoft product suite.

.

seriously cyber-national security is no joke.

Zilpha Zilpha said:

Governments and public agencies are required to consider different options and pick the ones that are the cheapest while meeting the requirements.

Private companies/people are not.

The reason for this is that the government doesn't spend the government's money - they spend YOUR money (assuming you pay taxes). While a private company/person is generally spending their own money.

Correct, but the overall cost of switching an entire infrastructure to a Google-provided solution has to be factored into things, and that's where I think Google is stepping over the line in claiming they even have a comparable solution. Frankly, I am getting a little tired of seeing their name all over everything. They are getting too big, too fast, and involving themselves in too much. I don't trust them to keep my personal information secure, much less the government of the United States.

Besides that, what does Google really hope to accomplish by suing the US government? Even if they win and the Gov't has to "consider" them, it's unlikely they are going to get in the door after this nonsense. The US government might be a bit of a joke at the moment, but I highly doubt that they are going to cave in to Google's bullying.

AnonymousSurfer AnonymousSurfer said:

Haha I didn't know you can sue the government, the people that run the courts...

xcelofjkl said:

Lol @ government. Bunch of old geysers knowing nothing about everyday-computing

Guest said:

YET they offer Google Apps as the alternative? Google Apps is so frustrating to use at times.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.