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Los Angeles Goes Google Apps With Microsoft Cash

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the cloudy-day dept.

Google 266

Dan Jones writes "The Los Angeles City Council has approved a US$7.25 million, five-year deal with Google in which the city will adopt Gmail and other Google Apps. Interestingly, just over $1.5 million for the project will come from the payout of a 2006 class action lawsuit between the City and Microsoft (Microsoft paid $70 million three years ago to settle the suit by six California counties and cities who alleged that Microsoft used its monopoly position to overcharge for software). The city will migrate from Novell GroupWise e-mail servers. For security, Google will provide a new separate data environment called 'GovCloud' to store both applications and data in a completely segregated environment that will only be used by public agencies. This GovCloud would be encrypted and 'physically and logically segregated' from Google's standard applications. Has cloud computing stepped up to prime time?"

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Cannot parse title (5, Funny)

Jack Malmostoso (899729) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909925)

I thought "Microsoft Cash" was a new marvellous Redmond product I hadn't heard of.

Microsoft is giving away money! (1, Offtopic)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910281)

C'mon, you've never gotten this little gem?

--

THIS TOOK TWO PAGES OF THE TUESDAY USA TODAY - IT IS FOR REAL

Subject: PLEEEEEEASE READ!!!! it was on the news!

To all of my friends, I do not usually forward messages, But this is from my good friend Pearlas Sandborn and she really is an attorney.

If she says that this will work - It will work. After all, What have you got to lose? SORRY EVERYBODY.. JUST HAD TO TAKE THE CHANCE!!! I'm an attorney, And I know the law. This thing is for real. Rest assured AOL and Intel will follow through with their promises for fear of facing a multimillion-dollar class action suit similar to the one filed by PepsiCo against General Electric not too long ago.

Dear Friends; Please do not take this for a junk letter. Bill Gates sharing his fortune. If you ignore this, You will repent later. Microsoft and AOL are now the largest Internet companies and in an effort to make sure that Internet Explorer remains the most widely used program, Microsoft and AOL are running an e-mail beta test.

When you forward this e-mail to friends, Microsoft can and will track it ( If you are a Microsoft Windows user) For a two weeks time period.

For every person that you forward this e-mail to, Microsoft will pay you $245.00 For every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, Microsoft will pay you $243.00 and for every third person that receives it, You will be paid $241.00. Within two weeks, Microsoft will contact you for your address and then send you a check.

I thought this was a scam myself, But two weeks after receiving this e-mail and forwarding it on. Microsoft contacted me for my address and withindays, I receive a check for $24,800.00. You need to respond before the beta testing is over. If anyone can affoard this, Bill gates is the man.

It's all marketing expense to him. Please forward this to as many people as possible. You are bound to get at least $10,000.00. We're not going to help them out with their e-mail beta test without getting a little something for our time. My brother's girlfriend got in on this a few months ago. When i went to visit him for the Baylor/UT game. She showed me her check. It was for the sum of $4,324.44 and was stamped "Paid in full"

Like i said before, I know the law, and this is for real.

Intel and AOL are now discussing a merger which would make them the largest Internet company and in an effort make sure that AOL remains the most widely used program, Intel and AOL are running an e-mail beta test.

When you forward this e-mail to friends, Intel can and will track it (if you are a Microsoft Windows user) for a two week time period.

Re:Microsoft is giving away money! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911017)

Hmm, those Nigerians sure are getting crafty, but I fail to see where they are going to make money on this.

Re:Cannot parse title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29910541)

The title was hard to parse, but it wasn't so much that as the question of whether one can "go" an "app" or group of "apps".

I go the app.
I went the app.
I will go the app.

Run the app - perhaps. Go the app - no.

Re:Cannot parse title (2, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910899)

... marvellous Redmond product...

When has that ever happened?

Re:Cannot parse title (2, Funny)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910983)

When has that ever happened?

Windows 95.

Re: Marvelous Redmond Products (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911301)

They "promised" it. Ya know, Microsoft produces world class vaporware.

Re:Cannot parse title (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911387)

I thought they'd brought back Microsoft Money. :P

Why segregate? (2, Insightful)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909927)

Are the government servers more reliable, or more secure than the regular servers? If that's the case, what does that say about the peons who don't have access to it?

Re:Why segregate? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29910209)

I wouldn't be surprised if it had something to do with the Federal Information Security Management Act, from TFA:

Google has pushed Google Apps as an option for government agencies, promising to ship a product called Government Cloud, which will be certified under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), sometime next year.

I would guess that some provision in it [wikipedia.org] requires segregated data servers, just in case the public consumer computer gets 'owned' by a cracker, that the government network is not instantly vulnerable.

That's just guessing, it could be for any other number of reasons. IANAL, I am not a network engineer or security expert, and I only scanned the article to get some free, pointless, anonymous informative karma :)

Re:Why segregate? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29910599)

Asshole puckering,
The Great Goatse widens,
out falls a brown rope.

The universe collapses
Into the great void
as the enchanted brown turdlet
Becomes the leader of the free world. [obamaisamoron.com]

Re:Why segregate? (2, Insightful)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910689)

Government Security, bwahahaha, I love a good oxymoron Seriously folks, I am glad, as the inverse is also true. When the government segment gets hacked (and it will fairly quickly I suspect), our public network will be safe.

Re:Why segregate? (2, Insightful)

MikePo (579147) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910431)

Without knowing the current Infrastructure that LA uses I can't say with certainty that Google will be less secure. However typical it is always more secure to keep your data in house than outsourcing that storage.

While the LA spokesman says it will be more secure that our current solution. I'm sure he is a PR weenie and if you talk to technicians in LA they would disagree.

Re:Why segregate? (1)

bsdaemonaut (1482047) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910617)

Honestly if it were me, the biggest problem I would have with this is availability. Even assuming the Google govcloud servers will be satisfactorily stable, which seems a big assumption, if Internet access were to go out your cut off. With a local solution you can still access all your shares, calendars, email, and etc, but that's not the case with this sort of solution. Just my two pennies.

Re:Why segregate? (2, Interesting)

ScuzzMonkey (208981) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910941)

It's a mystery to me what "satisfactorily stable" consists of for people who point out availability as a problem with cloud solutions. As a rule, enterprises don't publish their internal downtime statistics, but I can tell you that for a large chunk of them, it's far worse than the occasional Gmail outages. And no one who makes that argument ever seems to look at the necessary companion to stability, which is cost. What does it cost you to be satisfactorily stable running internally? For most businesses, again, it's a lot more than an Apps subscription, for a lot less stability.

As for off-line access, Gears is already available to allow offline access to Gmail, but if you don't like that, you can just as easily configure the same sort of standard POP3 or IMAP client-side application that you would use with any other mail service, with the same capabilities should your connection be severed.

It also seems to me that people over-estimate what actually gets done in many offices when network access goes out, regardless of the off-line capabilities of clients, but that's another arguement.

Re:Why segregate? (3, Informative)

stocke2 (600251) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910987)

Having your own email servers, if you loose internet you still can't send/receive email, so no big deal

You can always pop/imap your email from google and can use offline access with google email/calendar/docs.

We changed over to google apps here at work and the offline access has been good for us here.

Re:Why segregate? (1)

TastyCakes (917232) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910699)

You mean the technicians that are going to be made redundant by this?

Re:Why segregate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29910613)

Quote from TFA:

This GovCloud would be encrypted and "physically and logically segregated" from Google's standard applications.

Surprise! The servers themselves are no better than the "peons' servers"; it's their insulation from the public internet that would make them more secure.

The data would be stored only in the U.S. and only accessible to U.S citizens who have undergone security clearance.

Wait, does that remind you of some wacko wanting to end Online anonymity [slashdot.org] ?

Re:Why segregate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911111)

No, but it reminds me of needing to log into a service before I am able to use it.

Re:Why segregate? (3, Insightful)

oenone.ablaze (1133385) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910685)

Also, it sounds like multiple governments', or at least multiple government agencies' data are on the same cloud? I hope for Google's sake it doesn't get cracked, because pissing off one government sounds like no fun, let alone a handful of them.

Re:Why segregate? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910857)

Simple.
Almost all higher ups in government for some reason have Law degrees and is currently or use to be lawyers. If there is a problem they will point their fingers down a chain of rube-goldberg like causes and effects until it hits someone Who has no one else to point too. Then this person who is usually just a public servant or a vender will take all the heat for a full chain of mistakes that caused some problem. So say gmail went down for 5 hours. Sure it is a mistake on googles part. However it is more of an inconvenience then a major problem. However during this time a public servant didn't get the email saying they needed to send a document or pay a check because he wasn't notified because email was down. The person who sent the letter realized shortly after he sent the message email went down did nothing about it assuming the servant recievied the message but because email was down he couldn't get a conformation. His boss asked if it was done the manager says he sent the servant the message, he didn't get a response back because email went down after he sent it. The boss above him took it as the task was completed. Now because of this lack of task there was a major problem. So the upper manager points to the upper middle manager says you said it was done. the upper middle manger will point to the middle manager and blame him for telling it was done, the middle manager will point to servant for not sending the information on time but the employee will point to google saying the email was down and couldn't get the message. Google gets the heat.

This wasn't really googles fault. If this was important the middle manager could have called the employee to check to see if he got it. The Upper Middle manager could have asked the middle manager to verify by phone f they got the information. The upper boss could have asked more details on when it was going to happen.

It was a breakdown in the management of the organization . Sure google went down however their management was broken and the problem is the fault of many people.

Companies at least the good ones don't do this type of behavior as much as it is a wast of their resources, and nothing is done to prevent it from happening again. So google can feel a bit more lax in running their system.

 

HOLD UP (2, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909953)

Does this mean I will be losing some of the 7385 MB available for my inbox space? I'm already using a whole 1% of that!

Re:HOLD UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29910969)

You mean Google oversold their storage capacity like ISP's oversell their network capacity? How much do you want to be it all GMail users took their mailboxes to 95% - well, I bet they can't all GET to 95% without the servers being out of space...

Re:HOLD UP (2, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911361)

Still shows 0% for me :). I think I'm using like 44MB total.

Google has to be using some compression or something though. My Lotus Notes mail file at work with a similar message volume is 600+ MB.

I find it ironic though when they determined at work that we all needed to clean up our mailboxes in anticipation for a 250MB quota. Google manages to give me 7GB and with our own dedicated server our admin wants me to stay within 250MB. Something just seems wrong about that.

The times are changing (1)

odin84gk (1162545) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910003)

With the advancement of Google and open-source software, can we say that Microsoft has a monopoly on anything except its operating system?

I'm not saying that the court decisions were wrong, but this article goes to show how a few years can change the landscape and just how far Google and open-source software has come.

Re:The times are changing (2, Insightful)

agbinfo (186523) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910077)

If I understood this right, Microsoft was found guilty of using their monopoly in the OS sector to gain monopolies in other sectors. If they no longer have a monopoly in other sectors, this would reinforce the decision.

Re:The times are changing - Yes, but ... (4, Interesting)

Herschel Cohen (568) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910227)

You neglect the effect of the close call that MS experienced that tempered, somewhat its proclivity for using the Mafia business model. Remember even under the W, supposedly MS was under judicial restraint. Those factors had to play a role in allowing competition to reappear*.

* However, if you look at the netbook experience where Linux suddenly vanished (supposedly completely) from its initial dominance one can see hints that MS is probably back to its old game, but the environment has altered in the interim.

Re:The times are changing (3, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910567)

I think this is a step towards relieving MS of their monopoly, even on OSs.

How long until LA city employees don't need Windows for anything. If everything they do is in the browser, they can use Linux (maybe in the guise of ChromeOS)

Re:The times are changing (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910951)

With the advancement of Google and open-source software,

Oh yes, Google and Open Source Software... the kind of Open Source Software that's so secret they won't release the source code to.

Re:The times are changing (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911167)

He said "Google *and* OSS". Two different things (although there's a slight overlap).

Re:The times are changing (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911273)

Yes, but the question is why. Clearly it was to associate Google with OSS. But anybody who is informed knows that Google is not transparent when it comes to software.

Re:The times are changing (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911369)

I don't think it wanted to associate Google with OSS, except to say that both represent competition for Microsoft.

Re:The times are changing (1)

Miros (734652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911197)

They still have quite a good lock on business productivity software (i.e. office). Nobody else even comes close to them on that. Google will probably continue to eat away at it for a long time but it does not look like it will tip away from Microsoft's favor in the near future. Don't forget, Microsoft has a ton of cash and they are probably not sitting on their hands waiting for Google to decapitate their cash cow.

Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29910015)

So they took money they received by being able to say that microsoft had some sort of monopoly and used it to purchase products and services from Microsoft's competitor? Maybe I'm missing something.

Re:Wha? (2, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910123)

It turns out that chronology makes the world a much more comprehensible place:

At times A through B, LA purchased software from Microsoft. At time C, which is after times A and B, they sued, asserting that Microsoft used their market power in the interval between A and B to overcharge. They one. At time D, which is after A, B, and C, they purchased a product from a competitor which was not offered in the A to B interval.

Re:Wha? (1)

riegel (980896) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910771)

They one.

I think you have the chronology correct. But I am not so sure about your spelling.

Re:Wha? (2, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910955)

Ouch. I think that I didn't get my chronology quite right. I should have gone 1. Coffee 2. Slashdot rather than the other way around...

Re:Wha? (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911059)

Uhh, if they had used it to buy a bunch of Microsoft products, that would have made more sense how?

Cloud? (5, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910029)

Has cloud computing stepped up to prime time?

No. Someone's just getting a dedicated data center hosting scalable web apps. Nothing new.

Of all the places on the interwebs, I would hope /. could refrain from the marketing babble.

Re:Cloud? (2, Funny)

CensorshipDonkey (1108755) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910073)

Ha! Maybe you haven't seen the meme "You must be new here."

New here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29910363)

Obviously he hasn't, you see, he's new here.

Hi, I am Anonymous Coward, and I am here to help.

Re:Cloud? (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910153)

No. Someone's just getting a dedicated data center hosting scalable web apps. Nothing new.

Truly. Can we stick this "cloud" shit in the heap with "information superhighway", "cyber", and "web 2.0"?

Re:Cloud? (4, Interesting)

Miros (734652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910627)

"Cloud Computing" differs from "information superhighway," "cyber" and "web 2.0" in that it's not just a buzzword but an actual strategy shift in software development which is not only creating "marketing babble" but also directing an increasingly large share of global IT expenditures. This is a real fundamental shift away from traditional notions of the "Platform" away from operating system APIs and proprietary client/server applications to ubiquitous web/standards based applications and commoditized scalable third party provided infrastructure. Capital expenses are shifting to operating expenses, and whenever this much money changes focus you have to keep your head on straight and your eyes open.

Re:Cloud? (4, Funny)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911405)

Not to mention using advanced needs-based methodology to monetize the synergy created by reactive transitional functionalities, thus enabling a future-proofed maximized pricing structure!

Re:Cloud? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29910611)

Eh, this Slashvertisement was probably paid bought by Google's marketing people. What do you expect?

My prediction. (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910035)

There will be a subset of users who will hate it, mostly serious Excel jockies and the extremely change averse, but on the whole it'll be pretty popular.

The biggest thing is space. In my(admittedly modest; but definitely nonzero) experience, users really, really hate dealing with storage quotas and love doing things(like storing files in the form of email attachments) that bump them into quotas. Unless the LA IT guys were unusually generous, or their deal with Google unusually stingy, most user's quotas will probably go up substantially. Plus, with Google doc's sharing functions, there will hopefully be much less attachment clutter eating email quota space.

Aside from heavy users of particular Office functions, who will almost certainly end up retaining local copies of office one way or another(whether it be official IT department policy, or local departmental budgets, or some other means), most people will probably care more about not bumping into quotas than anything else.

Re:My prediction. (1)

J Story (30227) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911145)

There will be a subset of users who will hate it, mostly serious Excel jockies and the extremely change averse, but on the whole it'll be pretty popular.

Google Documents are still on the utilitarian side, but Spreadsheets are quite useful. They lack indentation (needed in accounting) and pivots, but add Google search capability and distributed sharing. For ad hoc management of numbers, it's quite convenient.

This is not to take anything away from the OP's prediction, which sounds like a certainty.

Re:My prediction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911245)

I personally use Google Apps for some unimportant tasks, but it is worth noting that anything over about 100 or 200 rows with some computation really churns compared to Excel.

There is no comparison at all and this is while running every browser worth running (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and IE8 to check).

I have not used the Google version of Word, but I imagine it can probably avoid some of that lag (as the browser is used to handling formatting).

With that said, aside from email, I think a lot of people will be quite disappointed with the shift.

Shakedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29910143)

The money the city was paid for being "overcharged" gets used to migrate away from some product never made by Microsoft.

Passing the Buck (4, Insightful)

_bug_ (112702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910157)

Has cloud computing stepped up to prime time?

No.

What it has done is given IT administrators the opportunity to pass the buck when there's a problem with a system. Now when the e-mail system goes down for hours and employees can't access crucial data, the IT admin simply points at Google and says "it's not my fault or my problem".

That's all cloud computing offers. Unless you're a bit paranoid, in which case it also provides a single-point of attack for the government to eavesdrop under the banner of "keeping America safe".

Re:Passing the Buck (3, Insightful)

Miros (734652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910719)

You're missing something more important here; it allows companies to shift costs from capital equipment to operating expenses which is HUGE from a business standpoint. Not to mention that it ultimately reduces the number of people needed to maintain these systems which is also very significant for large organizations. Reducing the costs involved is far more important than shifting the blame ever is; the people who make these kinds of decisions likely don't give a crap whose job it is to keep it up and running so long as it meets their needs and has a net positive impact on the bottom line.

Re:Passing the Buck (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910961)

Google has far better uptime than any local IT department I've worked with.

Monopoly position to overcharge for their software (2, Insightful)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910165)

That would be like JK Rowling using her "monopoly position" on Harry Potter to overcharge for her books. They made it, they should be able to set the price for their product.

Re:Monopoly position to overcharge for their softw (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29910377)

True.

But, IIRC, most of these cases had to do with Microsoft strong-arming OEMS (Dell,HP, etc) by forcing them to only ship Windows and Office on their computers.

Re:Monopoly position to overcharge for their softw (1, Flamebait)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910563)

But, IIRC, most of these cases had to do with Microsoft strong-arming OEMS (Dell,HP, etc) by forcing them to only ship Windows and Office on their computers.

"Strong-arming" how? Did they have guns? Automatic or semi-auto?

Ohh, right, you mean Microsoft said that unless Dell agrees to the terms of their contract, they would not sign the contract. *gasp* How horrible of them to not let Dell have their business without agreeing to the terms of their contract!

Re:Monopoly position to overcharge for their softw (1)

riegel (980896) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910973)

"Strong-arming" how? Did they have guns? Automatic or semi-auto?

Both.

Re:Monopoly position to overcharge for their softw (2, Insightful)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911213)

[citation needed]

Re:Monopoly position to overcharge for their softw (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911023)

OK, Mr. Smart-Ass, when Microsoft comes to you and says "You can't ship Linux on your computers unless you agree that 99% of your computers have Windows installed, regardless of what your customers ask for", and you say "No! I will not agree to that!", how many computers will you sell when you can't sell Windows. That's anti-competitive behavior, and Microsoft is guilty as hell.

Re:Monopoly position to overcharge for their softw (1, Flamebait)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911295)

"You can't ship Linux on your computers unless you agree that 99% of your computers have Windows installed, regardless of what your customers ask for", and you say "No! I will not agree to that!"

If Dell refused Microsoft's terms, then Microsoft loses Dell's business, which would also be a huge loss for them. They both lose if they can't agree to a deal.

That's anti-competitive behavior

What does "anti-competitive" means? Care to define it in clearly concrete terms? If you believe force was applied - how? in what way? where are the guns?

No rights were violated. Nobody was forced to sign a contract at gun point, by a thug, or otherwise blackmailed. No fraud was committed. This is the free market. In the same way McDonald's demands its beef suppliers do exclusive business with them, and my company demands its resellers do exclusive business with us in order to get our products at a discount, Microsoft did the same. That is the definition of a free market - a market free of force, in which rights are violated. Anti-trust legislation is force, and violates the rights of those at Microsoft to set the terms of their agreements.

Re:Monopoly position to overcharge for their softw (3, Insightful)

mc moss (1163007) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910415)

No, actually it's nothing like that. Reading a book doesn't require anything proprietary and it doesn't have to work with other software, etc.

But I'm sure you have more knowledge about the case than the judge who made the decision.

Re:Monopoly position to overcharge for their softw (2, Insightful)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910655)

No, actually it's nothing like that. Reading a book doesn't require anything proprietary and it doesn't have to work with other software, etc.

Neither does your OS. It wouldn't be good for business, but there's no requirement that the OS must work with anything else. How is your statement relevant to my analogy, again? It's like arguing that I've made a false analogy because JK Rowling is a woman and Bill Gates is a man - it's true, but irrelevant.

But I'm sure you have more knowledge about the case than the judge who made the decision.

If a judge correctly interprets an immoral law, does that make the law alright? Stop begging the question. I'm arguing what's right, not what's legal.

Re:Monopoly position to overcharge for their softw (1)

omega_dk (1090143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911269)

You're right. Similarly, if Microsoft doesn't want to agree to the terms of doing business in the United States, where we require businesses to not behave in anti-competitive behaviour, they are perfectly free to take their business elsewhere.

Re:Monopoly position to overcharge for their softw (5, Insightful)

IP_Troll (1097511) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910453)

The is the whole point of a "monopoly position", they didn't just make a product, they eliminated all other reasonable alternatives to their product, creating an artificially high price.

Your JK Rowling analogy is missing the part where JK Rowling buys up every other publishing company, shuts them down, turns the book industry into a harry Potter monoculture, and makes Harry Potter the only book series on the planet aside from a few hold outs that have the creativity to write their own books.

Re:Monopoly position to overcharge for their softw (0, Troll)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910741)

The is the whole point of a "monopoly position", they didn't just make a product, they eliminated all other reasonable alternatives to their product, creating an artificially high price.

How exactly did they "eliminate alternatives" - did they use thugs and tommy guns? Ohh -- you mean they made a superior product, and made contractual obligations with their resellers. *gasp*

Re:Monopoly position to overcharge for their softw (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911083)

Ohh -- you mean they made a superior product,

We're talking about Microsoft Windows here. That never happened.

Re:Monopoly position to overcharge for their softw (2, Informative)

stocke2 (600251) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911099)

actually they did not make a superior product, go back and read all the findings. They did in fact use their position to destroy others before they could compete, which is fine, unless you have a monopoly.

Re:Monopoly position to overcharge for their softw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29910459)

Not the same at all. There are millions of other books to choose from because Rowling's does own all the printing presses. That's free market vs monopoly market economics.

Re:Monopoly position to overcharge for their softw (2, Insightful)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910845)

Not the same at all. There are millions of other books to choose from because Rowling's does own all the printing presses.

It is the same. Re-read my post. I said a monopoly on Harry Potter, not a monopoly on books.

Re:Monopoly position to overcharge for their softw (1)

stocke2 (600251) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911109)

and microsoft had a monopoly in the operating system market, not the windows market, so yet the analogy was ok.

Re:Monopoly position to overcharge for their softw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29910593)

Dude, that's just it, she does. Or are you able to get Harry Potter books from other authors more cheaply? Or from other publishers at a better price? I don't think so, and if you could you would see how quickly they get sued into oblivion.
Just take a look at the list of people who have 'tried to break the Harry Potter Monopoly'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_disputes_over_the_Harry_Potter_series [wikipedia.org]

And anyway your analogy doesnt hold in this case. Harry Potter is not Windows, JK Rowling is not a convicted monopolist, it's not the same thing. You should have used a car analogy ;-)

Answering TFS's Question... (2, Informative)

rwv (1636355) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910175)

Has cloud computing stepped up to prime time?

I hear "cloud computing" discussed and wonder what it really means. It seems like it's just a notion of a server connected to many clients serving data to client applications (which isn't a new concept). However, my impression was that "cloud computing" was many clients connected to each other serving each other content.

Let's see what Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] has to say about it

Cloud computing services often provide common business applications online that are accessed from a web browser, while the software and data are stored on the servers.

Okay... cloud computing is "business application accessed from a web browser". Well, in the respect I think the deal might be a good step for cloud computing.

Re:Answering TFS's Question... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29910203)

NIST, the folks responsible for all the standard we use every day keeps track of a slowly evolving definition of cloud computing that seems to cover all the bases:

http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/SNS/cloud-computing/index.html

Re:Answering TFS's Question... (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910705)

my impression was that "cloud computing" was many clients connected to each other serving each other content.

You're either thinking of P2P or mesh computing.

Let's see what Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] has to say about it

Cloud computing services often provide common business applications online that are accessed from a web browser, while the software and data are stored on the servers.

Okay... cloud computing is "business application accessed from a web browser". Well, in the respect I think the deal might be a good step for cloud computing.

The Wikipedia page quite nicely sums up why it's more than just that: "This definition states that clouds have five essential characteristics: on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured service."

It's likely that LA's private pool of resources will exhibit most of that. Whether that elasticity is necessary, I'm not sure. I wonder whether Google will be able to dynamically reassign resource from their public pool to their LA pool?

Re:Answering TFS's Question... (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910723)

Ugh. Sorry about the quoting cockup.

Re:Answering TFS's Question... (1)

Miros (734652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910785)

applications running on a third party's server being maintained by a third party's employees. This is the first application of their new GovCloud, but I'm sure it wont be the last, and there is virtually no doubt that the resources that they had to create for this project can be utilized in supporting other similar applications. That means that unlike the service that may have been previously provided by the internal resources of the state costs to the provider are actually going to decrease over time on a per user basis as they add more customers and spread the cost of their workforce and equipment out over more clients. It's massively more efficient from a costs perspective which is what really matters here.

Re:Answering TFS's Question... (1)

jhfry (829244) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910815)

Cloud computing is the client-server model that everyone is used to... but where the "server" is distributed.

There are significant advantages over a more traditional client-server model, even if the "server" is a cluster. Because the cloud is distributed geographically; 1. infrastructure outages are far less damaging to the application, 2. entire data centers can be taken off line and added at will, 3. power and cooling advantages can be used to keep costs lower, 4. Bandwidth utilization are distributed to multiple centers, which may help prevent saturation of regional carrier networks, 5. data may be read from the closest data center reducing bandwidth utilization vs a single data center on the other side of the globe.

Many things don't make sense to have on the cloud... but some things are particularly well suited for it. Email, I believe, is the ultimate cloud use... it needs high availability and fault tolerance. It needs huge capacities. And finally to keep storage utilization to a minimum, you will ideally have a single mail store, otherwise a single email sent to users on several mail stores will result in several copies of the same data. This kills Exchange in a lot of large organizations, a VP sends a large attachment to all of the regional head, now that same attachment exists on every exchange server in the organization, gets backed up with every server backup, and possibly never gets deleted since it came from the boss. A single mail store means a single copy (redundancy excluded, that exists with many mail stores too) of that attachemnt.

Smart one! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29910199)

Moving from what is arguably the most secure stable email platform available to "the cloud"

Gmail is not ready. (2, Interesting)

skgrey (1412883) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910271)

In a word, no, Google mail is not ready for primetime. They are not able to meet the SLA's required for a business, especially government work where the email system needs to be readily available. I would assume there is some extent of document management involved here, and if that's the case what happens when gmail goes down? I know government tends to move slowly, but this could seriously interrupt procedures - what if cases weren't tried in due time? Businesses and government use email for more than just simple communication, it could also be a sign-off step in a procedure's workflow, and breaking that is often a big problem.

In 2009 Gmail was down in February and then in September, and I believe there was at least once more occurence this year as well. In 2008 Google was down in July, three times in August, and once in October. If I ran a business and my email was completely down to this extent I would fire my Exchange team.

Sure Google gives you 15 days free when the service is unavailable for a period of time, but that doesn't really help now does it?

Re:Gmail is not ready. (5, Informative)

godztempus (1081497) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910517)

"This GovCloud would be encrypted and 'physically and logically segregated' from Google's standard applications." I'm sure the gmail outages are the reason for this part. Physically and logically segregated means that if gmail goes down, GovCloud won't. If your exchange team had to manage the email for millions of users they would be having more outages then gmail.

Re:Gmail is not ready. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29910641)

Blasphemy! Obviously he's better than Google, and handles millions of users from his mom's basement using a server running on a classic Gameboy!

Re:Gmail is not ready. (1, Informative)

skgrey (1412883) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911247)

Umm...the GovCloud is running the same software as standard gmail, no? The outages have been from issues within the gmail code (issues with the contacts plugin, issues with new mailbox code) as well as standard routing issues (I believe it was a core switch that had a bad route at one point), not from the amount of users. I think it was a DOS and a number of users issue once out of all of those. Having this segregated from Gmail isn't going to make as much of a difference as you think it's going to.

Re:Gmail is not ready. (1)

skgrey (1412883) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911413)

Hey mods, how is that a troll? I was explaining what actually went wrong during the outages!

Re:Gmail is not ready. (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910621)

I'm not pre-empting the answer, this is a genuine question and not an attempt to score points:

Were paid Google Apps customers as badly affected as users of the free GMail service?

Do big customers like LA City Council have more stringent SLAs?

Re:Gmail is not ready. (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910769)

It's like two hours that Gmail wasn't available. Get over it!!!

It's not like it's gonna cost you that much money because the e-mail isn't available for such a short time... If it's *that* mission critical it's your fault for not providing a more reliable alternative to Gmail. And no, just getting an Exchange server is not more reliable... just the Windows updates that actually install without problems will probably total up in more 'downtime' per year.

Most people just forget that e-mail still performs superbly compared to snail-mail, but just like snail-mail some messages can take a little longer. An e-mail is never guaranteed to be delivered in a few seconds. Some take minutes, some hours and i've even seen a couple delayed by a day. Not having the mail delivered for 2 hours hardly counts as a significant delay.

Bitching about it doesn't really help now does it? Taking an extra long lunch might help though... :-)

Re:Gmail is not ready. (1)

stocke2 (600251) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911179)

and it was only the web interface that was not available, if you were using pop or imap from a desktop client or cell phone then you did not notice any outage at all.

That is the first gmail outage that has affected me since 2004, and i was still able to use it because i use the web interface but also imap it to apples mail app and to my ipod touch

Re:Gmail is not ready. (2, Insightful)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910927)

They are not able to meet the SLA's required for a business

Citation needed. What theoretical "business-class" SLA are you holding Google to, and can you demonstrate that they haven't met it? Doing some hand waving about two or three outages this year, without quantifying how long they were, or what percentage of users were affected, is insufficient.

but this could seriously interrupt procedures - what if cases weren't tried in due time?

If unusually high availability of e-mail/documents is truly that important, if the brief unavailability of these services would bring justice to its knees, then I might question any decision not to invest in a hyper-available infrastructure. Simply not moving to Google Apps wouldn't be enough, in this case. I would expect the government to construct their own infrastructure with multiple levels of redundancy and code diversity, redundant networks and power systems. Obviously, they aren't going to do that. I strongly suspect (but, I admit, don't know for sure) that the city is choosing between managing a "standard" business-class infrastructure, and Google. If you're truly asserting that Google Apps does a poorer job than a typical business setup, I'd appreciate seeing some actual numbers to back up your assertion.

Re:Gmail is not ready. (1)

skgrey (1412883) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911363)

Well, the problem is that none of us have the insight into the exact city requirements so we can understand their exact SLA or how much of a high availability they actually need, but I would imagine it would need to be pretty good at the least, and that's why this decision with Google surprises me. I haven't seen pretty good yet, and I was just referencing major outages. There have been more minor ones as well. When I get home tonight I'll pull what SLA Google thought they could uphold, and it's not near where it needs to be for a pretty general business requirement that requires a decent amount of high availability. I want Google to succeed in the apps market, but there are certain things they aren't meeting yet. I've done a lot of studying of clouds in the past few months and I'd be happy to share my research when I get a hold of it.

Re:Gmail is not ready. (1)

mrmagos (783752) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910953)

Ok, lets be fair. If you're going to compare Gmail to Exchange, at least compare it to an Exchange implementation of similar scale - such as Hotmail. A cursory search turned up an outage from March [live.com] and one from earlier this month [live.com] .

Re:Gmail is not ready. (2, Funny)

digitalPhant0m (1424687) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911195)

If I ran a business and my email was completely down to this extent I would fire my Exchange team.

I'd fire you for choosing Exchange.

Time for another class action or other suit? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910277)

I actually don't know the details of the suit or settlement associated with the three California counties suit against Microsoft using its monopoly position to overcharge for software, but I observe that the suit did not result in lower prices. They are pretty much still too expensive.

60s -- 90s -- 60s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29910375)

And so control of data and code goes back where it started, within the huge corporations.

Except now the racks of clusters and virtual machines are called "clouds".

This will be interesting.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29910561)

My dad is an LA City firefighter, and I'm happy for him that he won't have to put up with GroupWise anymore (what a piece of crap), but I'm also not sure that he's ready for the switch to all cloud based apps. Hopefully the city isn't so dumb that they pull all the software they've already paid for licenses of and force everyone to move to the Google Apps version, but that's putting a lot of hope in a city that doesn't usually do smart things with technology.

Google called me yesterday (2, Interesting)

PinternetGroper (595689) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910733)

I run a small 200+ computer operation and had Google Enterprise call yesterday. We use their Postini service for spam and really like it. The sales rep on the line wanted to know if we were interested in their Apps product and had mentioned that Los Angeles recently switched to it. Call me traditional or old-fashioned, but I like having physical access to my data. I also like being responsible for ensuring our services stay up and running. If e-mail is down, I can fix it, instead of calling someone else to check it out for me. Several techs in our state from a recent meeting shared this sentiment as well. What is the general overall feeling from IT on "cloud computing"? I'd be curious the thoughts from the LA IT department...

Re:Google called me yesterday (2, Insightful)

Miros (734652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911085)

I'm not from the LA IT department but I will say that I think the real feelings of the people making the decisions in the large organizations (business types, not necessarily IT types) are making those decisions based on cost analysis. Hosted/cloud services meet their needs and shift expenses from capital expenditures to operating expenditures (which is really important, smaller regular cost can be substantially better than large upfront cost from a financial perspective, even if the regular operating cost will add up to more than the capital expense given enough time). Not to mention it probably permits significant reductions in IT staffing, which is also very expensive. In the end, if it meets the requirements and it's cheaper it makes sense to do it. Certainly there is a cost associated with diminished reliability, but that's just another variable in the equation in determining which is more financially sound. For most slashdotters this is probably not good news as the story of cloud computing is about increasing productivity while maintaining or reducing IT expenditures over time, not growing them.

Re:Google called me yesterday (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911125)

Call me traditional or old-fashioned, but I like having physical access to my data. I also like being responsible for ensuring our services stay up and running. If e-mail is down, I can fix it, instead of calling someone else to check it out for me. Several techs in our state from a recent meeting shared this sentiment as well.

I guess you like it because it's your job, and if your job was reduced to passing questions onto someone else, you'd be redundant.

Myself, I'd far prefer *not* to have physical access to my data. If I can have secure access to my data without having to worry about messy, space-consuming, power-consuming, attention hogging hardware, I'll take that thanks.

Re:Google called me yesterday (1)

Miros (734652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911249)

not to mention purchase that hardware and replace that hardware regularly as it becomes obsolete or insufficient

Ridiculous (1)

Sam36 (1065410) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910763)

Why would any gov agency think that it is a good idea to send all of its data of the unprotected internet and store it on some server that could be anywhere in the world?

Finally open goverment (2, Funny)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#29910881)

I love it, we finally will have open government. Just Google your local representatives name, and all the related email, documents, and maybe even web searches, will be there for users to browse. Transparency, accountability, and honesty. No more browsing on craigslist on taxpayers time. No more hiding behind the law.

Imagine how powerful Google will become (1)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911231)

once they have unfettered access to all Government documents and email...

Do No Evil - ya right!

Re:Imagine how powerful Google will become (1)

Miros (734652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911305)

that's actually a really good point. this is the first application of this system, and if they are able to prove it to be secure and reliable (possibly even more secure and reliable than many internally provisioned government datacenter resources) they will make a metric shit-ton of money. Think of all the other states that would also use the product once it has been vetted extensively through an application, not to mention the federal government itself. This is a huge test of faith, and if they pass, they will get a lot more customers.
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