Google Sues The US Government For Only Considering Microsoft Solutions

from the hubris dept

Eric Goldman alerts us to the interesting bit of news that Google has sued the US government -- specifically the Department of the Interior, for not seriously considering Google Apps when it put out a Request for Quotation (RFQ) to handle its messaging needs. Specifically, the DOI stated upfront in the RFQ that the solution had to be part of the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite. Google is making the argument that this is "unduly restrictive of competition," and it seems like they've got a decent argument there.

Most of the lawsuit details the history of meetings and conversations between Google and the DOI, where Google sought to convince the DOI that its solution was acceptable. The DOI justified limiting its offerings to Microsoft, by saying that Microsoft had two things that other solution providers did not: unified/consolidated email and "enhanced security." Google disputes this (not surprisingly) and notes various problems with Microsoft solutions -- including well reported downtime issues. Google protested the RFQ when it was released, but the GAO dismissed Google's protest saying that since Google does not have a GSA schedule contract (i.e., what you need to sell to the gov't), it was "not an interested party." Anyway, should make for an interesting lawsuit if it goes anywhere...


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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:47am

    Microsoft had two things that other solution providers did not: unified/consolidated email and "enhanced security."

    Microsoft - Security. Someone is seriously delusional.

     

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      Rich Kulawiec, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:07am

      Re:

      I must concur with my anonymous colleague: it is quite impossible to secure Windows systems for a satisfactory value of "secure".

      I'm sure that some people will claim this is not the case. I invite them to consider the 100-200 million operational examples of this problem, including the ones on Microsoft's own network: see http://krebsonsecurity.com/2010/10/pill-gang-used-microsofts-network-to-attack-krebsonsecurity-com/ for one such instance.

       

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        IshmaelDS (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:40am

        Re: Re:

        Just thought I would let you know when your going on about how you can't secure Windows you might want to link to a story that actually has a compromised windows server. From the article "In just one of the many ironies in this story, the compromised server inside of Microsoft appears to have been running Linux, not one of Microsoft’s server technologies. "
        I also have to contend that you can secure Windows, it just isn't done for the majority of consumers out there.

         

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          Free Capitalist (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 10:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Sure you can build a hardened kernel for Windows Servers. Only for desktop users getting to a reasonable expectation of security requires gimping the haberdasher way Windows handles services, DLLs and other resources. In a Unix system it's easy to detect changes to services by checking init.d, which is not so easy to control in Windows.

          However the security question relevant to the writeup concerns Microsoft business apps, especially the Exchange server (and client) nightmare.

           

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          Rich Kulawiec, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 8:26am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You mean you actually believed the statement from Microsoft? Wow.

           

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        Michael, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 10:24am

        Re: Re:

        Yes, because Microsoft's failure to harden two Linux-based network devices used for testing really illustrates how insecure its Windows and Server products are.

         

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        Kiruashi, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 11:50am

        Re: Re:link for attacks using microsofts network

        Good job there. Pointing out how Windows systems fail security with an article that talks about attacks coming from a Microsoft network.

        Oh wait... there is that important note about it being Unix and Linux based servers that caused the problems. Not a problem with a Windows based system. Good skimming.

         

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          pafipe, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 5:14pm

          Re: Re: Re:link for attacks using microsofts network

          That's proof that MS people can't secure computers. They can't even secure Linux boxen.

           

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        Alan Lindsay, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 1:07pm

        Re: Re:

        ummm - the Google bid is relying on Windows systems as well. This has nothing to do withe client hardware or OS.

        Stunning that anyone would argue that Google Apps measures up to BPOS in any way at all. Missing about 50% of the actual applications. Missing 50% of the functionality in the applications it does have. Totally lacking in integration. Half the groups that go with Google go ONLY for email and half of them switch back. Google is good at a lot of things but office functionality at a real business level is not one of them. It is also one of Microsoft's areas of complete expertise.

        Maybe GOogle should offer to eat and repay the total cost of running a competitive bid if they lose? Otherwise I'm glad to see the government saving some tax dollars and just getting on with it.

         

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          F, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 2:08pm

          Missing the clue as usual

          Microsoft fanboy overlooks the reality of the situation in order to blow the MS horn.

          What does "office functionality" have to do with anything? This contract is for "messaging". Any functionality that is not in the scope of the contract is "bloat" that just gets in the way. But again bloat is the Microsoft way.

           

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        Andrea, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 5:17pm

        Re: Re:

        If you read the story that you linked to you will find that the compromised server appeared to be a Linux server!

         

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          Jason, Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 7:29am

          Re: Re: Re:

          omzog!!!! For really reals? That's so funny LOLZ!! That's so totally strange that the BIG SECURITY GAFFE that got such big headlines happened to be on a Linux server. HA! Steve Ballmer couldn't have planned it any better if it was on purpose. HAHALAMFAOZMOG!!

          /sarc

           

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        Durrr?, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 5:08am

        Re: Re:

        @Rich Kulawiec, it seems quite impossible for you to make posts with a satisfactory value of "relevant":
        1. You cite an attack on a Linux system at Microsoft as an "operational example" of Windows security.

        2. You're making security claims about the Windows desktop OS in the comments for an article about a Microsoft cloud service.

        Making dumb "EVIL M$!!!!" posts was played out in 1998, and it's still played out in 2010.

         

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        Darren, Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 12:53pm

        Re: Re:

        The best part about that article is that the single infected server at Microsoft was running LINUX.

        I suggest linking to a less self-defeating article in the future.

         

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          mhenriday (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 3:58am

          The most obvious conclusions to be drawn from the article to which you refer, Darren,

          would seem to be that : 1) Microsoft chose to use a Linux server as one running Windows did not meet their needs, and 2) Those assigned to running it were incompetent. Perhaps you would care to explain just how this invalidates Google's objections to the manner in which the US DOI crafted the RFQ ?... Henri

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 12:50pm

      Re:

      As opposed to Google, what with them being rooted in January this year and all.

       

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      Anonymous, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 2:06pm

      Re:

      Thanks God they did not remember about search engine.

       

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      Anonymous, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 2:07pm

      Re:

      Thanks God they did not remembered about search engine.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2010 @ 1:28pm

      Re:

       

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    Tony, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:50am

    Google's Conquest of the World Starts

    It is only a matter of time before we bow down to our new overloads. With Google trying to get a foot in the door in the US government, this is just the first steps in Google's conquest of the world.

    I am not joking! Not even in the tiniest of bits!!! Ok, Ok, maybe a little.

     

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      Cmonster, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 1:11pm

      Re: Google's Conquest of the World Starts

      Who would have thought ten years ago that there would ever be a company "more evil" than Microsoft. It's definitely funny turn of events.

       

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        mdmadph, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 1:57pm

        Re: Re: Google's Conquest of the World Starts

        Yeah, I know -- Apple sure has come a long way, haven't they?

         

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        Alatar, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 3:03pm

        Re: Re: Google's Conquest of the World Starts

        Look who's crying wolf.

        Criticizing the "terrifying" massively opensource Google in a post from your locked-down windows computer (the ones who claim to have 95% market share in the OS market but don't disturb you, and don't even give you the choice when you buy a PC, even if you already have a win licence), before pausing your locked-down Ipod because you have a call on your locked-down Iphone.
        All those newly-revealed grandstanders are pitiful to say the least.

        The only person I could accept, or at least listen to such an argument from ("blah blah Google bad blah blah dominate world"), would be a person using some Gentoo Linux, compiling his own packages, not letting any closed-source package in, and not using any Web-based service (except his own, on his own server), plus a condition on the mobile phone he has (free software only, some OpenMoko or Cyanogen Android I guess).

        But I guess you probably don't match the description, you've been supporting dirty monopolies for years and suddenly selectively take on one (and only this one, no other) in order to... I don't know what, but it does probably have to do with self sufficience.
        There is room for critics, but you have to live up to your own standard and not just be another Lily Allen taking on "piracy"

         

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          vivaelamor (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 5:58pm

          Re: Re: Re: Google's Conquest of the World Starts

          "The only person I could accept, or at least listen to such an argument from ("blah blah Google bad blah blah dominate world"), would be a person using some Gentoo Linux, compiling his own packages, not letting any closed-source package in, and not using any Web-based service (except his own, on his own server), plus a condition on the mobile phone he has (free software only, some OpenMoko or Cyanogen Android I guess)."

          I worry how close I come to that description! Currently using Arch Linux as my primary OS, but cut my teeth on Linux From Scratch and Gentoo. Currently using third party servers, but for the reason of I don't own my internet connection rather than don't want to run my own server. My mobile phone runs Maemo and I plan to upgrade to Meego next year if 1.2 is stable for handsets. By the way, using open source every day shouldn't be a pretence for 'I audit the code running on my PC', because even when I did compile every single package on my system I rarely looked at a line of code myself.

          All that and despite aspiring to run my own email I'm using Gmail in the meantime because while I have reservations about Google, I trust them more than my ISP or as much as some other random service provider.

           

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      Anom, Apr 14th, 2013 @ 5:53am

      Re: Google's Conquest of the World Starts

      you are a moron... the USA is already been controlled by others, might it be the rich or the foreign countries government... and yeah I'd rather have google as new over lord then the US xD

       

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    Richard (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:53am

    Us Government deals

    From my experience it is pretty standard for the US government to put out invitations to tender whilst having already sewn up the deal with a supplier. Typically the preferred supplier gets to more or less write the specification.

    However the cases I am aware of were nothing like as blatant as this one. Actually naming the (underlying) preferred supplier in the spec. is going a bit far. The usual practice is to write in an obscure (and usually pointless) technical requirement that they know other bidders won't be able to meet.

     

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      Chris Maresca (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:30am

      Re: Us Government deals

      Too true. Even if the specific MSFT requirement is removed from the RFP, the favored vendor will still win.

      Mind you, it might not be all that bad in this case as retraining thousands of workers to use Google Apps instead of what they have been using for years might be a bit of a cost. Nevermind all that data on Google servers rather than gov't. desktops.

      Chris.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 10:11am

      Re: Us Government deals

      I used to work for the US Gov (mid level civilian engineer for one of the military branches). 75% of the contracts (that I had insight on) were decided before the RFP was drafted.

      - The contracts always had requirements that were worded specifically with one vendor in mind (this MS case is a good example - maybe a bit too good)
      - The RFPs that are "designated" for a specific vendor always had very short windows. (unless you already had a response ready there is no way you could even gather info in time to respond)
      - Pricing was agreed to beforehand so that it could be used to justify the targeted contractor (if you bid too high or too low they could use that as a tie breaker in case you got close in the rest of your requirements)

      As far as I know these shortcuts were taken in the interest of hurrying a project along... and largely because the intended contractor was a known entity. If an underachieving contractor won a bid it was a HUGE headache for both our schedule and budget.

      What always made me the most angry was when hiring was done via the same process. Usually people got hired to the GS world only after their performance was vetted as a contractor. If management liked someone's performance as a contractor they would steal them away by writing a vague job announcement that had ridiculous requirements for exact words/phrases in CVs (then the requirements would be handed over to the applicant).

      It was always done in a manner where it would be your word against theirs if you wanted to turn someone in. Never in email, never over the phone, nothing incriminating on paper.

       

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      Coach George (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 11:59am

      Re: Us Government deals

      This happens with a majority of companies, govt. or organizations that offer RFQ's. It is very common for the current or preferred vendor to write the spec's. This isn't just a Federal Govt. occurrence.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 9:24am

      Re: Us Government deals

      Seriously, the Government does this all the time when they specify Cisco...

       

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    jc (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:56am

    classic government

    Having worked for a government run institution I would say this is par for the course. RFQs are almost always written with assistance from the desired vendor and "requirements" are created out of thin air in order to ensure that only 1 vendor can possibly meet the spec.

    Efforts to end corruption have done nothing but create a legal framework to justify corruption.

     

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      James, Dec 19th, 2010 @ 2:29pm

      Re: classic government

      "Efforts to end corruption have done nothing but create a legal framework to justify corruption."

      Exactly, but you and I know the vast majority of people would rather not think about it aslong as they are doing ok for themselves.

      One prediction may turn out true which is "man destroying man". At the end of the day by hurting the people they are going to hurt themselves.

       

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    Chris ODonnell (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:01am

    @ JC and @ Richard

    Neither of those situations is unique to government purchasing. Government, at least, as rules in place that are supposed to protect against fixed bids.

     

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      Richard (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:20am

      Re:

      Never said it was - the difference is that Governments have this pretence of a fair competition.

      However I should also have mentioned that these tricks don't always work. Our company did manage to actually secure one of the contracts that had been set up (by and) for someone else. We had a partner who knew how to get past these things.

       

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    johnny canada, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:22am

    They put in the MS part as they wanted to exclude Lotus Notes.

     

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    Lewis Baumstark (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:28am

    Deafening Silence

    ...from the people who claimed government open-file-format mandates were anti-competitive (because they locked out vendors with proprietary formats).

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:29am

    I think I missed something

    How can Google sue anyone for not looking at their product? As stupid as it is to not look at other options, why is that illegal?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:42am

      Re: I think I missed something

      They can't sue ANYONE. Just the US government, because there are supposedly mandates and policies preventing the governments from playing favourites with companies.

      If it was simply "we don't like your product", I imagine there wouldn't be an issue either. The only reason there's a case seems to be because the DOI specifically stated that the solution needed to be MS.

       

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      choklityum, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 12:11pm

      Re: I think I missed something

      They are probably approaching it from the "Microsoft has a monopoly" angle, arguing that it stifles fair competition.

       

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      Someone More Informed, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 1:31pm

      Re: I think I missed something

      ... When the government issues an RFQ, they are planning on going out and looking for bidders for a specific something.
      (Think of it like a reverse auction. Cheapest seller wins)

      Namely, they go out and look for the cheapest, most efficient way to spend taxpayer money.

      If the government refuses to view a cheaper alternative, simply because microsoft is paying off the people writing the RFQ, that's anticompetitive, and likely illegal.

       

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      Chris Carpenter, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 2:18pm

      Re: I think I missed something

      It wouldn't be for a company, but the government has a responsibility to the people to consider all options. It appears that they are not even considering any option but Microsoft, therefore they are being unethical (if not illegal) and should be forced to at least allow other vendors to propose their solutions. Not that they would be likely to consider them anyways, since our government is pretty much owned by Microsoft and other corporations.

       

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      Oliver Style, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 2:29pm

      Re: I think I missed something

      The article explains why it's illegal. The federal government is obligated to obtain competing offers because they should be saving taxpayer funds and getting the best value for their money. Imagine if you were living in an apartment building and you paid expensive HOA dues and your HOA board decided to spend a ton of the building's money to replace the roof but they only got a bid from one company, which happened to be a lousy roofing company charging way too much. Wouldn't you pissed off?

       

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      dave, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 2:51pm

      Re: I think I missed something

      The rules for spending the public's money are different than those of a private company. Providing an open bidding process is one of them.

       

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      YetAnotherBob, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 4:19pm

      Re: I think I missed something

      The US Federal Government has a rule that unless there is some reason to believe that only one Vendor can supply the requirements, there must be a minimum of three bidders.

      This would be the basis of Google's lawsuit. For Online documents, there are more than 3 possible bidders. Microsoft, Google and Oracle come to mind immediately.

      There may yet be more lawsuits before this is over. Google's bid should have been considered. Even if the contract was awarded prior to the tendering. If reported accurately in the article, then it was an illegal bid, and will have to be re-bid.

      When the Judge looks at it, he will have enough real information to decide. Reported facts often differ from real facts.

       

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      Fallen Kell, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:48pm

      Re: I think I missed something

      Because the government is required by law to have an open bid process for items they purchase. But in this case, the product specifications which they opened for bidding required it to be a Microsoft product, in a sense, basically saying only Microsoft is allowed to win this contract, but we are following the law for bids by placing the contractor we want to win as being a requirement for the product being purchased, and it is still open to all bidders, as long as they are named Microsoft.

       

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      Jon, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 5:39am

      Re: I think I missed something

      Chronno, The reason Google can sue is because the customer is the US Government. The Government is required by law to consider all bids from private companies. This has two purposes; first, it prevents the government from getting to cozy with a private company, and second, it is supposed to protect the tax payers.

      Imagine that you are a mayor of a city, and you have a friend to works in construction. It would be unfair for you to higher your friend to install new roads in your city, without considering bids from other contractors. This type of system would eventually turn into a "who knows who" and bribery system.

      So the US Government 'may' have actually broken the law since they are required to have an open bid and consider all possible contractors.

      Google has no right to sue any private party for not considering their products (Walmart, Ford, etc.) But they do have a right to sue the US Government. Everyone is supposed to get an even shot when it comes to public bids.

       

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      Manoj, Dec 20th, 2011 @ 7:12am

      Re: I think I missed something

      You definately missed the main point that the Government
      put an RFQ stating "the solution had to be part of the Microsoft Business Productivity."

      If this was the case the Government should have gone directly to Microsoft. No need for an RFQ and wasting people's time.

       

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    Sandeep, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:33am

    Wow

    I thought only Indian government was corrupt, looks like US govt is too. Man, this seriously erodes my beliefs

     

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      Greevar (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:42am

      Re: Wow

      US government corruption has been around since the USA was founded.

       

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:45am

      Re: Wow

      All governments are corrupt--with the occasional (*rare) exception of newly formed ones, and even then they remain corruptionless for only a short while.

      In fact, it comes down to a larger problem: In the absence of government corruption, anarchy will give way to organized crime--who practice standard corruption of shakedowns (taxes) and murder (penal code).

      So really, the only question is do you prefer your organized crime to be in the form of a government or do you prefer your organized crime to be in the form of a mafia? Same sh*t, either way. But at least the governments attempt a little lip-service to the ideals of 'freedom' and 'justice' as it would do them no good service with the people do be seen for the despotic fascists they really are.

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 11:13am

      Re: Wow

      Not just India, Sandeep.

      Everywhere.

      I can point you to any number of federal contracts here in Canada that were rigged from day 1, often for the lamest of reasons.

      Here in British Columbia all I need so is point you towards the sale of BC Rail, rigged from the start to go to Canadian National and, guess what?, it did!

      Government corruption in letting contracts is as old as the concept of government. What's different these days is the fiction of "open contract bids" which is just that.

       

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      Paddy O'Taplley, Dec 7th, 2012 @ 12:43pm

      Re: Wow

      Dude, you are JUST NOW figuring out that the U.S. Gov is corrupt? We currently have one of the most deceitful, lying, corrupt governments in history! Only FDR could this level of corruption!

       

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    Greevar (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:41am

    Irony!

    The government put Microsoft to task for violating antitrust law and now they're feeding into it.

     

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    NullOp, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:47am

    Google vs US Govt

    Good for Google! I am personally glad to hear Google stepped-up and took on the U.S. govt! If a business considered only one vendor the practice would be highly questionable. The fact that it happened in government is absolutely scandalous! Once again, Good for Google!

     

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      Ken Hansen, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:01pm

      Re: Google vs US Govt

      That's just silly - by Google's own admission the Gov't worked with them for months, so they can't really say the Google option wasn't considered - it was considered and rejected.

      And I work in public education, there's no problem specifying the product, the issue is the supplier - you need to price the item from several suppliers to find the lowest price.

       

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    iamtheky (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 9:53am

    Google should just kick back and buy the prime who wins the contract, imho. Thats what all the big kids do.

     

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    fogbugzd (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 10:31am

    Competition is good

    I worked in city government for a long time. I saw two good examples of the competitive bid process working.

    We had always bought parking meters from the same company. The traffic department had all kinds of reasons for only using one company. Instead of ordering meters once a year they ordered a few every week in order to stay below bid requirements. They assured everyone that the we were getting a better-than-market price because the company knew we were loyal customers. A new City Manager came on board and insisted that they put out a competitive bid. We ended up buying the same meters from the same company, but the bid prices was 40% of the per-meter price we had been paying when they knew they did not have competition.

    The other example was IT. The IT shop was hard-core HP. We needed a Unix box that was going to be located in the machine room, but would be independent of any other system. HP gave us a quote, and the IT Director assured us that for budgeting purposes we could count on their bid price matching the quote because that is what they always did. The specs that IT put together effectively locked us into the HP quote. My boss inserted a paragraph saying functional equivalents or better would be accepted. The HP rep was shocked when gave the contract to IBM. After the fact the IT director told us that he had not realized how much HP had taken his loyalty for granted. The next set of bids that they put in went to HP, but at much lower prices than he expected, and they were suddenly getting all kinds of offers for free services from HP. We also got a new sales rep.

     

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    Klepto Skepto, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 10:34am

    City of LA might start suing

    This is crazy. Google can't even finish the City Of LA project and now they claim to be ready to take the whole DOI? C'mon.

     

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    Klepto Skepto, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 10:35am

    City of LA might start suing

    This is crazy. Google can't even finish the City Of LA project and now they claim to be ready to take the whole DOI? C'mon.

     

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    Jo Dean, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 11:07am

    Wow

    OK that makes a lot of sense dude. good stuff.

    www.web-privacy.edu.tc

     

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    Berenerd (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 11:09am

    Microsoft cloud computing....

    I have done the cloud computing using MS. Its down almost as much as it is up. If google can do better than that I would love it. The other thing is MS cloud is only usable on Windows machines. Google is cross platforms.

     

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    Will Sizemore (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 11:29am

    @iamthekey,

    I think you're right, but it depends on the motive. Google seems to want to increase competition here, rather than just buy out the prime.

    Government contract ethics is a difficult situation to navigate. The government and the companies bidding for contracts are always finding ethical dilemmas in the process and continually revising policies. Guess which costs more, between revising policies and going with what has been done for at least a year.

    Personally, I would like to see the government use more Google services. I know that in some ways, they already do.

    But to answer the question as to how its illegal to not consider some companies for certain contracts, the government does have some policies that exclude anyone but Microsoft, but also others that promise a fair look at all companies bidding. When it comes to certain jobs that the government has to contract out, much of the time, the government has to also know that the company and its employees are US Citizens who possess Security Clearances; especially with regard to the Department of Defense contacts for software and software maintenance.

    That being said, when I was in the Army, it was almost impossible to use anything that wasn't Microsoft, Adobe, or Symantec (or Norton) on a government computer. When I did get approval for Netscape or Firefox, it would only last until they pushed an update and removed my software using blanket policies.

    Funny story; in 2003 my unit bought Macromedia (before Adobe acquired them) Dreamweaver for me to maintain the unit's website and then told me I had to use FrontPage and my IT guys 'acquired' the copy of Dreamweaver from my desk while I was out to lunch.

     

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    iamtheky (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 12:03pm

    I am the K-y.

    Buying out the prime does increase competition. Nothing is preventing a partner facilitating services in the Microsoft Cloud, with what happens to be straight up google action? And what fun things would it do if it is the most successful. If this contract has tasks for enhancements seems a foot in the door is better than one in the pants.

    And it is no more illegal to require the use of Microsoft's cloud than it is to require the use of Microsoft's O/s. I dont think it unreasonable to want to keep an environment as uniform as possible, so that those transferring positions within the environment do not have additional learning curves. Just so happens this environment is the entire GS land.

     

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    Max, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 12:04pm

    Cry Baby

    Google is such a crybaby. Instead of filing lawsuit against US government the company should stop extracting email ids passwords of people.

    Government don't use Google services because of .........PRIVACY INVASION. Google is kind of company which won't mind looking inside your underwear.

     

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    Spyder, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 12:20pm

    There Is No Crying In Business

    Tell Google there is no crying in Business!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 12:28pm

    Working with FARS

    The problem is how the system is being used. Is it being used in Defense? There are DFARS requirements that need to be met. Is it non-defense? There are FARS requirements that need to be met.

    Does Google meet FARS requirements?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Acquisition_Regulation

    People love Google because they deliver software that simply works and has Easter eggs, but Microsoft got in a lot of trouble when they had "Easter eggs" in products in Microsoft Word because of FARS. As a result, they nixed the Easter Eggs.

    Google should keep the model they have, including Easter Eggs for Consumer market (We love them) but when it comes to working with Government acquisitions, it's a whole new ball of wax.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_eggs_in_Microsoft_products

    "Microsoft formally stopped including Easter eggs in its programs as part of its Trustworthy Computing Initiative in 2002"

     

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      Phillip (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 12:44pm

      Re: Working with FARS

      this and the summary stated:
      the GAO dismissed Google's protest saying that since Google does not have a GSA schedule contract (i.e., what you need to sell to the gov't), it was "not an interested party."

      Google isn't even eligible to bid without a GSA schedule contract so it doesn't matter. If they want to play the game they have to get the pieces to even compete.

      It would be like me not registering to vote and showing up tomorrow then complaining that they won't let me vote.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 12:58pm

        Re: Re: Working with FARS

        Exactly. So what do you need to become an "interested party"? You need to segment your business along customers. Google right now is seen as a company that can deliver excellent solutions to end customers, but they are probably afraid that the same customer-grade solutions would be used in a FARS environment.

        This is why I think the DoJ vs Microsoft antitrust case was important- Microsoft did such a good job focusing on the consumer market and it's products didn't properly document all the functionality of the software product. Flight simulators and pinball machine functionality weren't in the RFQ. In lieu of a breakup, it's possible that Microsoft responded by creating a group which cleansed the code and removed the Easter eggs prior to making it available for government consumption.

        These days, Microsoft products are all sanitized, have no Easter eggs, and that brings us to today where Microsoft can't figure out why people have a hard time liking their products.

         

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    Bruno Morency, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 12:30pm

    Similar suit filed in Quebec in the past year

    In a very similar fashion, Savoir Faire Linux, a Montreal-based open-source consulting shop, sued a Quebec government agency on very similar basis (mandating MS solution in a RFP) ... and won.

    If you can read French:
    http://www.cyberpresse.ca/le-soleil/actualites/justice-et-faits-divers/201003/08/01-4258648 -contrat-sans-appel-doffres-perdu-davance-dit-savoir-faire-linux.php
    http://www.cyberpresse.ca/le-s oleil/actualites/science-et-technologie/201006/03/01-4286630-le-logiciel-libre-remporte-une-victoire -en-cour.php

     

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    Steve R. (profile), Nov 1st, 2010 @ 1:04pm

    The Linux Solution

    Considering that Linux and Open Office are free, one would expect more governments to use them. Especially with the budget problems most governments are now experiencing.

    In fact, with Microsoft as the enterprise software vendor a lot of the expensive software provided is "useless" since the majority of government workers would seldom use it. Even MS Word, which is perhaps the most critical program, is seldom used to its full potential.

     

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    Horatio, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 2:34pm

    Google sues government

    There goes another distraction technique by Google. Google is in trouble. They are a one trick pony with their core business being eroded by Facebook, microsoft and other startups on the fringes.

    To distract the media, they keep coming up with these stupid stunts to divert attention from them.

    1. Few Months back they pulled some stunts with the Chinese government which backfired.

    2. Few weeks ago we had some google cars driving themselves.

    3. Few days ago they bought some big spectacular buildings for over 2 billion.

    4. Today we are hearing that they are suing the US Government.

    Google, cut the crap, innovate and stop stealing software from companies.

    I shall prophesy that in the next 10 years Google will be dead. Don't believe me and keep being buoyed by the android delusion.

    You will wake up on the other side of midnight.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 3:39pm

    office automation is not their job, this will be a tool to make that person more efficient. It is the exact same reason that RFQs for new systems specify exact requirements. So that people dont get shipped over to a department full of Macs and have to relearn how to use the tools to get their job done. It would be much more expensive to retrain everybody than it would to go with a higher bidder.

     

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    Patrick Olson, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 4:43pm

    Is anyone really surprised here. Google doesn't have a competitive product too boot. Most of their service have to go through their servers and the company was caught wardriving around the globe.

    I think this was an easy decision for government...

    Google has a long ways to go before they have a product which will compete against MS Office.

     

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    Fred, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 6:57am

    Title Correction

    "Google Sues The US Government For Only Considering Microsoft Solutions"

    should read

    "Google Sues the US Government for Considering Only Microsoft Solutions"

     

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    ken, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 12:35pm

    google sues

    Why would anyone trust google, they have taken information from citizens wifi networks in just about every country that they have photographed for google earth. once is an error this is scary.

     

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    Roger in VA, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 1:47pm

    I always thought you couldnt sue the government unless they gave you permission?

     

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    hyperlexic (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 2:06pm

    larry ellison?

    This seems strangely timed with Larry Ellison's lawsuit. I wonder if this has more to do with establishing a platform of attack against Oracle and Sun and their cozy Gov't relationships than Microsoft. dunno. dunno anything anymore.

     

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    Rob Aldred, Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 9:44am

    Microsoft, security? Lolz

     

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    mhenriday (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 10:18am

    Allegations that it was for reasons of security

    that the US Department of the Interior floated a request for quotation which only considers proposals involving the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite might want to consider reading, just as one example of many, Dan Goodin's recent Reg article (goo.gl/AB3p0). Security problems, as we all know, are rife in IT, but to propose Microsoft as the solution shows either naked self-interest or a degree of naiveté which is hardly credible. Writing a specification to pass a given company's product and only that product is not the way to run an organisation, whether government or private - although it may benefit the personal economies of certain officials.... Henri

     

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    cstorey, Nov 5th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    Start Small, Sue Canada

    Please, please, please. We're stuck with Office and Exchange 2003. Gmail would a huge improvement, and save us a lot of money.

    So, Google, please sue Canada.

     

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    Tim, May 2nd, 2012 @ 6:43am

    Newsflash: Google wins DOI contract

    Newsflash, Google wins DOI contract - http://on.wsj.com/JB09Ci
    , Next in line, the J&A for Cisco smartnet has to stop so that we can stop throwing away hard-to-come-by tax-payer dollars.

     

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    Snort, Nov 19th, 2012 @ 2:42pm

    Nobody read the filing

    In the filing Google states that they repeatedly asked for the security criteria they had to meet and USDOI never responded. Shows that people love to spout off without knowing all the facts, huh?

     

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