back to article Google suit halts Microsoft fed contract

Google has successfully prevented the US Department of the Interior from awarding a $49.3 million email contract to Microsoft. At least temporarily. Late last year, Google sued the Department of the Interior (DOI), claiming it didn't give Google a fair chance to win a contract to provide email and collaboration services for …


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  1. Quxy
    Thumb Up

    Good on Google

    I'm no big fan of the Chocolate Factory (I neither trust Google Docs nor regard Gmail as being more than a notch above throwaway Hotmail accounts), but I'm delighted that someone is pushing back on the bloated, inconsistent mess of Microsoft lock-in that's accreted within the USG.

    Any industry contractor dreads having to work with a new Agency, as they know they'll be required to install and become competent at yet another incompatible version of Microsoft software just to be able bid on contracts. (In some cases, even specific versions of Outlook are required... Ugh!)

  2. hEdly
    Thumb Down

    Part of the Problem

    This is why it costs so much for the federal government to buy stuff. We have to be o careful when making purchase or we get sued by a company that gets bent out of shape.

    Google probably wont win unless the gov't make the requirements too specific. I'm not sorry if they did. the cloud is too open and too easy to break in. the gov has enough problems keeping sensitive data out of the media and out of the bad guys' hands. the requirement is probably to host the data on gov't owned servers and run on software located at the site. Even if the gov can save the data locally, it still requires the web to edit. It's a no go in my estimation.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      You didn't seem to have read/understood the article

      The judge said the DOI RFQ [bold]was[/bold] so specific that no other company but Microsoft could qualify. Secondly, you are right pointing the federal government spends too much but this is exactly because they do not consider multiple alternatives and instead go with MS at whatever the costs might be. You seem to live in the US so you can't convince me you don't know what a real honest bidding process looks like. Last but not least, DOI rejected Google because of FISMA certification and decided to go with MS's solution which didn't have it. This leads to a short and obvious conclusion, either DOI people in charge of this RFQ were corrupt or they are dumb. Yours to pick one.

      1. C 2

        MS Cloud services ?

        Again? Didn't we have an instance last week where MS cloud services screwed the pooch .. AGAIN. They can't seem to keep their own servers from barfing all over the place. They also swing between locking people out of their own email, or just letting anyone at it.

        The DOI has my vote for DUMB, and not just your everyday dumb, this is stupidity on a scale I have never seen. Come on, they are concerned that Google's cloud services ARE secure?! WTF?!

        The whole idea that they are outsourcing web based email suggests to me that they are *completely incompetent* and are unable to host their own external email .. OR they are so damned lazy that the thought never crossed their minds.

        Seriously I work at a small town library (county gov't) and WE are looking at slapping together an email server for internal and external use, sans MS software. Sheesh! Oh and BTW there are at least a few Linux based email servers that FULLY support Outlook.

  3. Lance 3


    Microsoft doesn't need FISMA. Their servers are so secure that the users cannot even login and Microsoft also takes care of deleting emails for you. No need to worry about someone reading what you don't want them too because the users can't even do it.

    1. Tom 13

      @Lance 3

      But that auto-deletion feature runs afoul of email retention rules for FIAA regs.

      Where's the red tape icon?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    I want all US Government docs and email handled by Google

    That way, it can be served up the the Chinese in one lump.

    1. hplasm


      set them up the bomb?

  5. asdf

    yeah but its exchange

    I don't know a single MSCE that doesn't both love and hate Exchange. The hate it because it needs constant babysitting to keep from going down but they love it because those hours are usually billable. Exchange is garbage.

    1. Alex Rose

      Not Exchange, rather MCSE is garbage

      We look after about 30 Exchange servers ranging from 2000 to 2007 and to be honest they don't give us much trouble. Certainly nothing that could be remotely described as "constant babysitting".

      Maybe the problem lies with the MCSEs that you know, in my experience the only thing MCSEs teach is how to remember the answers to some multiple choice questions. As far as technical knowledge, problem solving or actually being an engineer they teach you precisely nothing.

      There are MCSE qualified people out there with good engineering skills, but they have those despite having MCSEs not because of it.

  6. David Kelly 2

    Do the math

    $49.3M to provide email to 88,000 is $6162.50 per seat.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      re: Do the math

      "$49.3M to provide email to 88,000 is $6162.50 per seat."

      Not it's not, it's nothing like that.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        No, it's just that $560.22/seat is the quoted cost.

        It's a government contract. Overrunning the budget by a factor of 11 is actually a rather conservative estimate. David Kelly needs to work on his cynicism.

        Anon because I do work for government, and this opinion is not necessarily that of my employer.

  7. mhenriday

    Loved that bootnote :

    «The ultimate irony here is that that the Microsoft setup chosen by the DOI – BPOS Federal – doesn't have FISMA certification...»

    Hope the Reg will continue to review this soap opera as new installments are released !...


  8. James Pickett


    "$6162.50 per seat"

    As little as that, for a government project? Those cuts must be biting hard.. :-)

  9. sbterres



    That $49.3 is over 10 years.

    That's about $5 million/year.

    This equals roughly $56/ user/ year. (sounds pretty cheap to me)

    I have been keeping tabs on this issue because, I'm the PM in charge of my Federal Agencies possible procurement/outsourcing of a new email/messaging system.

    To the gent that can't understand why the USG is looking at the cloud computing alternative, it's because of funding and the recognition of technology advancements. It's an attempt by your Government to get into the current tech century. Client/Server based computing is so last year.

    Outsourcing IT needs might be more cost effective for companies/agencies (Cost cutting). With all USG budgets being cut and the expectation for Gov't to do more, what would you suggest Gov't Agencies do? You will find it's extremely expensive to host an in-house email/messaging system then what you're proporting. Please take into considration that your local library doesn't need to maintain 99.9% uptime, the security needs of your local library can't compare with a Federal Agency, and the scope is completely different (Blackberry, 88,000 employees vs. your local library, etc)

    And are you really suggesting the USG throw together a server with a freeware mail program like your library is doing? Really?

  10. Kermudjin

    The other side of the coin

    A rigged bid process smacks of some type of corruption in the government. And we want to give these people more power?

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