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Google Sues US Gov't For Only Considering Microsoft

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the do-not-pass-go dept.

Google 407

An anonymous reader writes "Late last week, Google sued the US government for putting out a Request For Quotation for the messaging needs of the Department of the Interior that specified only Microsoft solutions would be considered. Google apparently had spent plenty of time talking to DOI officials to understand their needs and make sure they had a solution ready to go — and were promised that there wasn't a deal already in place with Microsoft. And then the RFQ came out. Google protested, but the protest was dismissed, with the claim that Google was 'not an interested party.'"

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407 comments

Smart Move? (3, Informative)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094088)

It's one of those bureaucratic loopholes. Without the GSA schedule and number, you can be dismissed from any offering regardless of how much time you put in. Did they really not have one? Almost seems like a bad oversight.

Honestly though, even if they did can they really think that suing the gov't over some minor app is going to win tons of dollars and contracts? Every spec can be written in the future in such a way to exclude a companies abilities ad infinitum.

Re:Smart Move? (2, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094142)

No kidding. If your goal is to pick Office over Google Docs, you can list about a thousand things Office does that GD doesn't.

Probably an easy 90% of those are features the government doesn't even care about, but certainly they can still demand them.

Reading the links, it really seems like the person at Google in charge of this didn't have a lot of experience with the realities of government contract bidding.

Re:Smart Move? (3, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094170)

Government contract work is INSANE. One of my wife's relatives works in the field (writing up contracts between the US government and other companies), and based on the little I've talked to him about it, it sounds crazy complicated. I'd rather learn about the tax code instead of government contracts.

Re:Smart Move? (5, Informative)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094430)

No kidding. I'm currently working on part of the delivery of a $1b+ tender where a dimension is specified to not exceed a given length to an accuracy of 0.5mm. This is on a device that is over 5 meters in length. Gaming the list of potential bidders/suppliers? That would be unethical, and also illegal in many jurisdictions. Stating your requirements with a high degree of precision? Nothing wrong with that!

People who write these kinds of things are well aware of what they can and can't do or say and still have no problems in making sure that their preferred supplier wins the contract without breaching the letter of the law. The spirit of the law, on the other hand, was declared dead a long time ago.

Re:Smart Move? (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094438)

They do have to legally outwit millions of "businesspeople" who are just constantly scheming on how to get a ton of contracts with no saleswork, and delivering as little product and labor as possible. Patriotism and ideology and help-your-country-and-community usually goes out the window fast, when people are talking about work, bills, responsibilities, profits, money, etc.

Re:Smart Move? (2, Interesting)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094324)

you can list about a thousand things Office does that GD doesn't.

They did list things:

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."

And Google responded to those:

Google disputes this (not surprisingly) and notes various problems with Microsoft solutions -- including well reported downtime issues.

Re:Smart Move? (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094394)

unified/consolidated email
Lots of ways to do that

enhanced security."
This clearly indicates bribery, no one hears "Microsoft" and thinks enhanced security.

Re:Smart Move? (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094596)

Got it in one. The explicit requiring of Microsoft's products pretty much goes beyond the typical stretching of the rules and stacking of the deck- in a way, I'm pretty sure of, they're not supposed to do in the first place.

Re:Smart Move? (3, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094160)

Be that as it may, should that be what we settle for? A government with no openness and ties to specific corporate vendors forever?

I don't particularly like Google as a company. I think they are kind of slimy and trade on their geek cred way too much, but I don't want them excluded from competition for government contracts.

Eheh (5, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094174)

So basically, your approach would be to let your direct competitor AND arch enemy get away with their corruption and greed and walk all over you for fear that they might walk all over you again with their corruption and greed.

Your message: Don't fight the status quo because if you don't things will remain the same...

Really, grow a spine, it is all the rage these days.

Asking for a MS only solution in an open bid is NOT an open bid. If I make an open bid for cars as long as they are made by ford, then it is not open. And governments should NOT do this kind of job unless they want the outraged citizens to march to the capitol and... oooh Idols is on.

Re:Eheh (5, Insightful)

rabbit994 (686936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094334)

It's an open bid as in, anyone can offer a solution, it just must be Exchange based.

Re:Eheh (3, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094410)

To take his car analogy to the next level... it's like the government putting out a req. for cars using only Ford Engines.

Re:Eheh (3, Insightful)

rabbit994 (686936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094486)

While you see evil conspiracy here, it's like putting out a bid requiring cars with only Ford Engines, because all your mechanics are Ford Mechanics and you don't want to hire GM Mechanics simply for one set of cars. My guess is they are primarily a Windows shop so by going with Exchange, they don't need to hire new "mechanics".

Re:Eheh (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094412)

Which is not an open bid.
You can buy fords at any ford dealership, but limiting vehicle bids to fords would not be an open bid.

Re:Eheh (3, Insightful)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094434)

In my experience Exchange is not the solution to anything.

Re:Eheh (1)

rabbit994 (686936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094542)

What are your other options? Lotus Notes which is worse then Exchange, Groupwise which require a Novell environment I doubt they have and Google Apps which may not work in their environment.

Re:Eheh (4, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094714)

You left out a lot:
Zimbra
Zafara
OpenXchange(that one I know sucks)
Scalix
the list goes on and on.

Re:Eheh (1)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094784)

No actually, you obviously did not read the complaint. It appears that the DOI required a solution in the form of Microsoft's own hosted Exchange solution, which is only offered by Microsoft itself.

Re:Smart Move? (4, Informative)

jlechem (613317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094250)

Verbal contracts are all well and good but unless they have a DUNS and register with the CCR, and use those to get on the schedule the DoD can pretty much give them the finger and they have no recourse. Sounds like someone at Google didn't do their homework on getting DoD jobs.

Re:Smart Move? (2, Informative)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094708)

There's also a requirement to have a PRODUCT that could be put into the Schedule to begin with. I'm pretty sure they've got a DUNS number at the least (Most major corps typically have one.) and the rest is easy.

Don't seize on what the GSA did for a reason for refusal here. I'm strongly suspecting that they were finding out what they needed to do to possibly get the business before they went and did the rest- because they'd have had to.

No, there's an issue there. It's called an EXPLICITLY CLOSED contract when they're obligated by law to provide OPEN bids for things. Claims of "enhanced security" and "integrated mail, etc." is bunk. There's a handful of actual solutions that meet all those criteria, actually, and Google was one of the prospective providers. I don't know where the lawsuit will go, but there IS a serious problem with the DOI deal there.

Re:Smart Move? (3, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094260)

It's one of those bureaucratic loopholes. Without the GSA schedule and number, you can be dismissed from any offering regardless of how much time you put in. Did they really not have one? Almost seems like a bad oversight.

If they had been using their "magic wifi gathering devices" they surely could have picked one up somewhere.

Re:Smart Move? (5, Informative)

bytestorm (1296659) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094370)

A plaintiff company Onix apparently does have a GSA Schedule 70 and provides solutions based on google docs. Since they (google) are not providing the service directly, however, they shouldn't need one. According to the complaint, the companies have been courting this since june 2009, so there was plenty of time to get one if they needed it. The deal is that when the RFQ went out, it was specifically worded such that google docs were not a usable cloud platform, even though google docs is FISMA certified, which was the DOI's primary complaint to them in the first place (or so they claim in the filing).

Re:Smart Move? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34094464)

"Every spec can be written in the future in such a way to exclude a companies abilities ad infinitum."

And a great way to get on that shit list is to sue the Federal government.

Interested party (0)

Evro (18923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094130)

Google's a US corporation, so isn't it by definition an "interested party" in any transaction involving the US government?

Re:Interested party (2, Interesting)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094166)

I'm pretty sure that's not what "interested party" means legally in this context. But that being said...

Wasn't there an article on /. last week to the effect that they were now an Irish or whatever non-US country it was corporation for tax purposes?

Re:Interested party (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094212)

Google's a US corporation, so isn't it by definition an "interested party" in any transaction involving the US government?

I think the reasoning is that corporations own and control the US govt and/or have essentially been "merged". So, whom exactly is the interested party if you try to sue yourself?

Also everyone knows you pay money to politicians to get them to do what you want. Google apparently did not. So why is the govt to blame? I decided not to pay McDonalds for a hamburger. Oddly enough, I did not get a hamburger. Should I sue them? There is no interested party if there is no transaction.

How is this any different (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094144)

How is this any different than granting no-bid contracts granted to companies for rebuilding infrastructure or working the oil fields in Iraq? Isn't a no-bid contract the same thing as saying they are considering a single company?

Re:How is this any different (4, Funny)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094228)

It's not at all the same. In a no-bid contract, they just award the contract to Microsoft. Here they had a bid! It's just that one of the requirements is that the bidder be Microsoft! TOTALLY DIFFERENT.

Re:How is this any different (3, Informative)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094340)

They aren’t restricting the bidding to only Microsoft... third-party contractors could bid on it as long as they were going to use Microsoft’s products.

Basically, they’re trying to avoid taking the low bid and then at the end of the contract finding out that all of the workstations are running some free flavour of Linux that isn’t supported and none of their employees know how to use. It’s reasonable from that perspective, although cutting Google out of the mix probably still wasn’t really the smartest move.

Re:How is this any different (3, Insightful)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094358)

Which certainly isn't considering all options. A Microsoft only option leaves out a huge portion of the market that might be able to come up with a cost savings and a more secure solution using a free software infrastructure. How is it good for the economy and the U.S. as a nation sticking with a single vendor?

I accidentally the whole point (1)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094156)

In related news- Google CEO Eric Schmidt was found boxing the deathstar late saturday night. Schmidt had apparently had one too many candy corn flavored schnapps.

Re:I accidentally the whole point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34094452)

Did he win?

Why put out a request... (0, Redundant)

omnibit (1737004) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094190)

If only one company was going to be considered?

Re:Why put out a request... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094230)

It seems like they were talking to Google and Microsoft before even putting out the request, which seems weird to me (Discussing the details of a product before the request is even out).

And then Google is upset that they weren't picked, and THEN the request was put out.

This boggles my mind, I don't get it. Is this like Momento where everything is actually going backwards?

Re:Why put out a request... (3, Insightful)

joeytmann (664434) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094326)

There are a lot of consulting firms out there that provide MS only solutions, which is what the DOI is asking for, not that MS being the implementors of said solution.

Re:Why put out a request... (2, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094428)

There are lots of ford dealerships. DOI should be looking for email/office/whatever with X requirements, not an email solution from X.

Re:Why put out a request... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34094562)

Good job, you understood why Google is suing the US Govt. Your cookie will be mailed within the next 24 hours.

Re:Why put out a request... (1)

joeytmann (664434) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094602)

Have you considered that they may already have a rather large install of ActiveDirectory/Exchange and are basically just wanting to upgrade? Being that the the RFQ wasn't actually linked its kinda difficult to know what it exactly contained.

Re:Why put out a request... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094758)

Have you considered that many other solutions integrate with that environment just fine?

Surprise Surprise (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094194)

Why would the government consider anyone else, they want to keep a monopoly active for Microsoft. The bigger Microsoft gets the bigger kick backs the government can get it's simple math.

Could they go open source, sure but that wont make them nearly as much money as going with Microsoft, after all there not looking to buy quality there just looking to buy a solution, so think Microsoft.

Isn't that illegal? (2, Insightful)

genfail (777943) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094200)

It defeats the whole purpose of a bidding system to state that only one company will be considered for bidding. I might be wrong here but I'm pretty sure that's illegal. Which is probably why they are suing.

Re:Isn't that illegal? (5, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094308)

This is what happens when you have a monopoly like the Department of the Interior. I think it's about time one of us started a department to compete with them and keep them honest.

Re:Isn't that illegal? (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094354)

Sadly, it probably isn't, but it certainly should be. The least they could have done is specify require tailored to a known MS product, but no, they couldn't even be bothered to do that and skipped right to the 'only company X need apply'.

Re:Isn't that illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34094378)

If I say I want a Microsoft Xbox, Target, Wal-Mart, Toys R' Us, Best Buy etc. might all be able to sell that to me even though its a Microsoft product. Ever walked in to a Microsoft store and bought a Microsoft product? No? Huh, its almost like they have a huge network of distributors and affiliates that are allowed to sell their products to other people.

Re:Isn't that illegal? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094510)

And how much does the price vary on an Xbox?
That's right, basically no difference at all as they are all selling the same fucking thing coming from only one company.

Re:Isn't that illegal? (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094392)

It depends. A perfectly reasonable RFP could include things that only lead to one technology being considered. For instance I have a VMWare cluster that uses Intel 5500 and 5600 CPU's, if I needed additional capacity without impacting my existing cluster I could write and RFP that stated that Intel 5500 and above parts which work with VMWare EVC (function masking) with my existing cluster be used. This would specify that Intel CPU's be used but would allow bidding from Dell, HP, Cisco, IBM, and Oracle and their resellers. I see nothing fundamentally wrong with such an RFP, but then I work in the private sector where picking the best technology for our needs is not only legal but often mandatory.

Re:Isn't that illegal? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094534)

That again depends on how many machines you have, it may be more cost effective to switch everything over to AMD $hypothetical_CPU. Not accepting bids that fulfill the requirements, which would be too increase the capacity of your VMware environment, would be foolish.

Re:Isn't that illegal? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094576)

it may be more cost effective to switch everything over to AMD $hypothetical_CPU

That’s not how governments operate, though. You can’t roll a decision like that into an unrelated contract. You have to hire an expensive consultant and pay millions of dollars to even consider switching everything over to AMD $hypothetical_CPU, and at that point it’s hardly cost-effective any more.

I say that with my tongue only halfway in cheek.

Re:Isn't that illegal? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094642)

Uh, except it requires downtime to move between platforms so in most environments that would not be an acceptable solution =)

Re:Isn't that illegal? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094782)

You don't take everything down at once, you move one member of the cluster at a time. If you are not using clustering you will have downtime, at some point. Those intel servers will not last forever.

Re:Isn't that illegal? (1)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094624)

Not necessarily, it would depend on the precise wording of the ITT and who the likely bidders are. Typically for this kind of tender the respondents would be Microsoft's gold partners rather than Microsoft themselves, although it is likely that Microsoft would be very closely involved with the actual delivery on a tender of this size. Legally, asking for "an email system" in a tender is just as legitimate as asking for "a Microsoft Exchange/Outlook based email system", especially if you already have a requirement to interact with existing Microsoft mail systems. However, as I noted in another post, if the authors of the tender have a preference they will typically have no problems in tailoring their requirements to limit the field accordingly.

Good luck litigating against the feds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34094204)

IAAL and have worked on government contracting/federal procurement issues. The myriad ways in which the government gets to completely call the shots are just ridiculous. From highly technical rules for bidding to ludicrous standing requirements for protesting a bidding decision, you're really at the mercy of the contracting officer. This doesn't even begin to describe the many ways they can screw you over after you win a contract. Just look up the government's use of termination for convenience clauses to get an idea of how highly the courts favor the government when it becomes a contracting party.

Yes, the Dept. of Interior is corrupt (5, Interesting)

rsborg (111459) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094214)

Thanks to years of being "open for business"... probably not starting with, but vastly increasing during the Bush W Administration (and not being brought back under control with Obama admin), the Department of the Interior has been almost thoroughly corrupted and captured [hcn.org] .

It's not surprising that they are the target of lawsuit... what's sad is that they aren't sued by regular citizens for abdication of their purpose in search of bribes and kickbacks from Industry.

I wish Google best of luck in turning the stone on this cockroach-infested den of iniquity.

Re:Yes, the Dept. of Interior is corrupt (5, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094272)

They were corrupt under Reagan, Bush and Clinton too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobell_v._Kempthorne [wikipedia.org] for one.

Re:Yes, the Dept. of Interior is corrupt (4, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094516)

All bureaucracies are inherently corrupt, which is why you need regular change. A bureaucrat's first and primary goal is to keep their job and benefits. There is no requirement or reward to be efficient, effective, considerate or frugal. After all, it isn't their money they are spending.

Re:Yes, the Dept. of Interior is corrupt (2, Interesting)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094656)

All bureaucracies are inherently corrupt, which is why you need regular change. A bureaucrat's first and primary goal is to keep their job and benefits. There is no requirement or reward to be efficient, effective, considerate or frugal. After all, it isn't their money they are spending.

All kinds of people enjoy waste and freewheeling. Government money is the largest source. But boss, compnay, NGO and even family money gets abused all the time too. There is really only one place for decency or lack thereof. In minds are hearts. And only one way to really reduce it from there, education. Prosecution makes people think twice sometimes, but doesn't really change who they are. Legislation and lawsuits and punishment just create even more social confusion, just visit some courts and lawsuits and you will see it offerts no real decency and solutions to society.

Re:Yes, the Dept. of Interior is corrupt (3, Insightful)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094526)

And before that, they were tasked primarily with exploitation (rather than a mix of exploitation and protection) of resources, so there was really no question of any sort of bribery or corruption, unless you counted your Uncle Willy giving you preferential hiring as a park ranger because you were a good party member and his nephew. If you were an industry back then, you just signed a lease at the going price (which was even more ridiculously small than today's lease prices), and you got what was on/under the land.

Blah blah blah it's BOOOSH'S fault!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34094450)

You're going to see how well that works tomorrow.

Re:Blah blah blah it's BOOOSH'S fault!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34094680)

Yeah..like the Repubs taking over the House will really change things. Go back to hiding your head in the sand.

Re:Yes, the Dept. of Interior is corrupt (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094774)

While I don't disagree that the Dept of the Interior is definitely corrupt, I wouldn't single out this specific instance as corruption in work. In my view, it's just as likely that it's ignorance in work where the people writing the requirements really don't understand how computers work.

Single Source vs. Open Source vs.... Microsoft? (2, Informative)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094226)

It is pretty amusing, because I have repeatedly seen government (and corporate) IT talk about avoiding Macs because they are a Single Source Solution: you can't buy Macs from anyone but Apple, so you are locked into dealing with only one vendor. Then these same people would turn around and specify Microsoft Windows solutions. Precisely how many vendors do they think make Microsoft Windows?

If any of these people were honestly interested in avoiding vendor lock-in, they would require that all solutions be free and open source software. And preferably "open source hardware," if there actually can be said to be such a thing.

Re:Single Source vs. Open Source vs.... Microsoft? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094538)

Actually, I can see some (albeit twisted) logic.

You can run Windows on any old hardware, and if Microsoft were to cease to exist tomorrow, you could continue to install Windows on new hardware. Sure, you'd have to look to migrate off Windows sooner or later but - and here is the big but - you wouldn't be essentially forced to before you start to see hardware failing around your ears. Not so OS X - if Apple were to cease to exist tomorrow, you'd find yourself stuck.

Less of an issue today now that Macs run Intel processors, but you'd be putting together a bunch of bastardised hackintoshes which you hope will work. Possibly. As long as (insert feature here) is not important.

Standard, open specifications? (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094776)

Well, thinking of it as just any company, not some big corrupt group, their objective could be simply to keep compatibility with this that and the other. Which brings up interesting questions. Open source can be an open specification, yes, but not really, it's just another imposition. It doesn't really guarantee compatibility, short or re-writing huge chunks of something. How could these specs be made? It would perhaps bring forward all kinds of "compatibility profiles", for mail servers, database servers, applications, etc. I believe the army has some of those.

The Most Corrupt Department (5, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094232)

The Interior Department was the most corrupt department (that we know of) during the Bush/Cheney administration. It was the main feeding grounds for Jack Abramoff [wikipedia.org] , centered on using Indian tribes to grab casino industry money. It was the Interior Department's MMS [denverpost.com] office that traded favors to oil corps for coke and hookers, then let BP drill the Gulf despite its obvious contempt for safety, and let it slide through the resulting Macondo Well blowout through this Summer.

"Most corrupt department" was the hardest fought competition this whole decade, and it's clearly continued even after Bush/Cheney left. I am not at all surprised that the Interior Department is in bed with another monopoly disserving the people it's supposed to protect.

Re:The Most Corrupt Department (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094560)

"Most corrupt department" was the hardest fought competition this whole decade, and it's clearly continued even after Bush/Cheney left. I am not at all surprised that the Interior Department is in bed with another monopoly disserving the people it's supposed to protect.

OT, but of course it has. You don't honestly think all those government mandarins who have spent decades empire building are going to give it all up and change their MO altogether just because someone else is warming the seat in the oval office?

FFI, watch "Yes, Minister" and "Yes, Prime Minister".

Re:The Most Corrupt Department (1)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094730)

"Most corrupt department" was the hardest fought competition this whole decade.

Hmm. Well, at least there was competition, wasn't there? I mean, surely somewhere an RFP was issued for that.

Vendors (2, Informative)

HogGeek (456673) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094320)

A lot of discussion on "How come only Microsoft".

While I agree it's not "competitive", I think they are looking for bids on hosting a Microsoft based solution - not Microsoft, the company, providing the hosting

Re:Vendors (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094512)

I don't think that really makes it much better. Either way, they're favoring a specific company rather than requesting specific functionality.

Re:Vendors (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094694)

In this case, both are the same thing. Unless Google Docs is an Exchange-based solution. A high level of interoperability with a million existing government systems effectively mandates that.

Unless we've decided it's okay if the government is hopelessly inefficient, as long as they're wasting money on Google products?

Re:Vendors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34094638)

I think they are looking for bids on hosting a Microsoft based solution - not Microsoft, the company, providing the hosting

One article I read also mentioned the the RPQ specified Microsoft's "Cloud" solution (Business Productivity Online), I think that necessarily entails Microsoft-hosting (even if a middle-man is routing the cash).

Oh, the huge manatee... (1)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094322)

I certainly have to laugh at the timing of this move. I pondered a moment how effective a call to my elected officials might be at midterm election time, then said to myself, "FUUUUUUUUUU...."

Good! (4, Interesting)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094338)

Been there, done that. One of my former employers essentially bet the company on a federal RFP that was seeking POSIX compliance on diskless workstations. We worked our butts off to develop a solution using SCO Unix (back in the days before SCO decided to go into litigation as a business model), but even though it met all the requirements, the contract was awarded to the incumbent, who bid Windows NT -- with some kind of POSIX plug-in. We protested (the loser always protests), but we lost. Maybe it'll turn out better for a deep-pocketed company like Google.

How much money flows from Feds - Microsoft? (1)

gQuigs (913879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094348)

I am wondering if anyone knows just how much money the federal goverment sends to Microsoft each year.. There has got to be somewhere I can easily find this information. And while I am at, how about for any corporation?

I would love to see the Top 10 Fed supported companies.

Huge surprise (1)

DougDot (966387) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094352)

Hey, M$ bought that contract fair & square! Check out this story for one perspective on MicroSoft's US governmental buying power: http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/oss-europe-vs-united-states [linuxjournal.com]

Re:Huge surprise (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094442)

Haha. You even used the M$ moniker. Your post is mostly funny to me because Microsoft didn't win this contract, and because you don't know what you're talking about.

Corruption in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34094376)

Eons ago, America had worked heavily to wipe Corruption. America was the land of the good. Now, we are increasingly not much different than any 3rd world nation.

Re:Corruption in the USA (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094742)

I am doing my part. Voting against Rick Scott (R) for Florida governor tomorrow. In what insane world can a guy that pleaded the 5th 75 times in relation to defrauding social security and insider trading be a viable candidate?

I am not a democrat, but OMG WTF BBQ!, I can't vote my preferred 3rd party candidate and risk him winning.

It's not aimed really at MS (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094398)

The specs say that "Specifically, the DOI stated upfront in the RFQ that the solution had to be part of the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite."

So what's the problem? That's their specs.

And looking at the complaint, it just looks like the DOI wanted to use one messaging system, Microsoft's, and settled on it. Google was trying to push their system. There's a lot of shit going on here and it just looks like Google didn't get their way and is using their money to bully their way.

Oh wait, this is Slashdot and it's Microsoft involved. Never mind.

Re:It's not aimed really at MS (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094554)

Why can the DOI preselect one vendor?
If you are going to do that you may as well not even have bids.

This is like saying postal trucks will now be bid out, anyone who wants to bid must provide ford built vehicles.

Re:It's not aimed really at MS (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094732)

Any number of independent contractors can bid on the contract -- but their bid has to be a Microsoft-based solution. Probably for optimal compatability with any number of things outside the scope of this particular contract.

Re:It's not aimed really at MS (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094622)

It's not an RFQ if it states that only one party can fulfill the requirements. It's a public rubberstamp.

There are reasons the rules say you have to put things out to tender - to prevent corruption, to get the best value for public money. To subvert that process by putting out a tender that states that only one party will be considered is to openly laugh in the face of those reasons.

Of course Google was trying to push their system. This is how sales works. Microsoft was no doubt pushing just as hard, but the suspicion is obviously that they were pushing dirty too.

It may well be that the MS system can meet the requirements better - especially when the requirements probably include "compatibility with MS Office". But you win the contract by meeting the requirements, not having the requirements written to meet you.

Re:It's not aimed really at MS (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094674)

It's not an RFQ if it states that only one party can fulfill the requirements. It's a public rubberstamp.

It doesn’t. It just specifies that whoever builds the system needs to use Microsoft’s software. Microsoft is mainly in the business of selling software, not necessarily building complete systems... it’s quite possible that they’d price themselves out of the bidding for this and let some other contractor purchase their software licenses and actually do the hard work of building the system from the ground up.

Our tax dollars at work... (1)

chrisbell (101789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094424)

...supporting M$ - since they are no longer solidly the technology company with the largest market cap.

Is try before you buy legally binding now? (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094500)

There is less and less reason to believe in Google as a company. It doesn't seem like anything was signed.

Google was not an interested party

DOI forgot to s/interested/interesting/ to lessen the blow to Google. The government's fault was in creating rage and adding gas to that fire... I'd be angry too if an prospective employer pulled the same thing off in a job offer, daring to say I wasn't an interested party, though I went to their interview.

But just like my example, in most of the United States, a plaintiff with no signed agreement has little power to demand anything from the alleged agreement.

Did anyone actually read the complaint? (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094556)

It seems pretty clear that the Governments primary objection was to the fact that the servers providing service would have to be run by Google instead of by the government. Google simply said "you don't need to have the servers on site to be secure, don't worry about it!" I'm not sure that the RFQ was done correctly, but their true concerns are valid. I wouldn't want any government services hosted in anyones cloud, the chance for abuse is huge.

Go Google (2, Insightful)

sosaited (1925622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094568)

This is probably the only lawsuit I read about on Slashdot that I am going to support. Well done Google. And DOI must be lacking some sense these days to call it RFQ when they specified they will only consider bids from one company.

SYNTAX ERROR (1)

Orionn2000au (1491623) | more than 3 years ago | (#34094614)

It should read "Google Sues US Gov't For Considering Only Microsoft". It's a slippery slope, people. The next thing you know, people will be using the word "alternate" when they mean "alternative".

Really Google? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34094646)

A preference is a preference. Is google going to sue me because I use Windows OS? This is a ridiculous lawsuit

ta30 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34094670)

[anti-slash.org] both believed that thxe deal with you shall we? OK!

pot meet kettle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34094752)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/08/24/spy-agency-amends-bid-contract-notice-google-favored/

The agency's online synopsis indicated that the agency wants to steer the contract to Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., on a no-bid basis because “Google is the only source that can meet the government's requirement for worldwide access, unlimited processing, and Open Geospatial Consortium complaint web service interfaces.”

But Microsoft, the computer behemoth headquartered in Redmond, Wash., has indicated that it believes its Bing Maps program can also meet the agency's needs. In response to several calls, the agency told Fox News that a number of “interested parties” had met a Tuesday evening deadline for formally challenging the agency’s no-bid plan.

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