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Google Wins Injunction Against Agency Using Microsoft Cloud

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the knocked-out-of-the-sky dept.

Google 187

jfruhlinger writes "A judge has granted an injunction stopping the US Department of the Interior from moving forward with the adoption of Microsoft's cloud services. The injunction was sought by Google, which of course has its own suite of cloud offerings. Google claimed that the Interior Dept. failed to consider other options as required."

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OMG (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773302)

FIRST POST

Re:OMG (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773318)

First in posting, last in life. Now go be first suicide of the new year.

Re:OMG (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773342)

somebody is jealous!!!!!!!!!4

Re:OMG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773896)

somebody is jealous!!!!!!!!!4

Yeah, Google.

No attempts at finding other sources? (4, Interesting)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773316)

Apparently they run the Department of the Interior like the Air Force. I remember waiting four weeks and paying $80 for three ounces of a very specific lithium grease for some of our equipment that had an extremely similar clone at Lowe's for $4.

Re:No attempts at finding other sources? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773346)

But, the stuff at Lowe's isn't "mil spec" lithium grease. :-)

Re:No attempts at finding other sources? (4, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773372)

Sadly, a lot of stuff sold to consumers is actually better than "mil spec". Disclosure: I used to work for a major aerospace and defense contractor.

Re:No attempts at finding other sources? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773530)

I would very much like to subscribe to your informative articles, dear sir!

Re:No attempts at finding other sources? (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774100)

That's the problem.

The box of screws at your local Home Depot is targeted at some spec [say, attach block of wood 1 to block of wood 2, of various types, with certain minimum/maximum dimensions]

The majority of screws in that box meet or exceed that spec. But it is unlikely that all of them do, and it is unlikely that the few screws that don't meet the spec will be used in a situation where someones life is at stake.

Mil Spec may be lower, but all the screws in that box better meet that spec, because the whole system is designed to need that spec, and lives will directly depend on that screw meeting that spec, and if that screw fails, the military will sort through their records, find the QA person on the line that approved that screw, beat them to a pulp, then order twice as much of the same from that company.

Re:No attempts at finding other sources? (2)

BoneFlower (107640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774236)

It's not so much that milspec stuff is better, it's that the extensive testing is supposed to ensure a level of quality to a high level of confidence.

Sure, the regular civilian stuff might be superior in nearly all situations, but you don't want to be finding the one situation where it is not while on the battlefield with people trying to kill you. Sure, the odds of finding that situation at all might be smal, but knowing the odds, which those test seek to ensure, is a huge help in managing the risks.

Re:No attempts at finding other sources? (5, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773458)

They are likely made from the same ingredients in the same factory, but one comes with a piece of paper certifying it meets the standards. And since that is required, it's the piece of paper that's worth $75, and the grease is identical. They don't need grease that meets some standards. They need grease that comes with a certification that it meets some standards.

Re:No attempts at finding other sources? (5, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773722)

They are likely made from the same ingredients in the same factory, but one comes with a piece of paper certifying it meets the standards. And since that is required, it's the piece of paper that's worth $75, and the grease is identical. They don't need grease that meets some standards. They need grease that comes with a certification that it meets some standards.

Exactly.

Take an airplane, for example. A screw for it could easily cost $2 or more each, when you can get 1 lb of identical screws at the hardware store for $5 or probably a few cents each. But that aircraft screw comes with a document that can trace the metal it's made of all the way to the mine and even ore batch, should it be necessary.

That grease? Same thing. Tracability sometimes is quite important, and it costs a lot of money to maintain that paper trail...

Re:No attempts at finding other sources? (2)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773906)

That grease? Same thing. Tracability sometimes is quite important, and it costs a lot of money to maintain that paper trail.

Really? Competent businesses aren't keeping these records (electronically) as part of their normal supply chain process? That's somewhat sad to hear the government needs to pay extra for them to keep their own proper records that they'd use in day-to-day quality control.

Re:No attempts at finding other sources? (4, Informative)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774036)

BAHAHAHAHA. I tried to get information about a laptop I purchased from BestBuy (3-4 months after purchase) and they couldn't even tell me i'd purchased it there. This was after giving them the date on my receipt (which i had in hand) and the serial number of the laptop. I then tried Acer directly, THEY couldn't even tell me which video card my laptop came with, even after giving them a serial and model number.

Re:No attempts at finding other sources? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774136)

They have this data somewhere. They could tell you if they really cared. But we're talking about Best Buy and Acer here, and they don't, so they won't.

Re:No attempts at finding other sources? (2)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774456)

As your Username says, TooMuchToDo. I don't want to pay companies to push that much paper around on desks for everything that I buy. It's important in some instances and needless in other instances.

I don't mean literally 'paper on desks' mind you. Any form of recordkeeping has a cost associated with it. Furthermore, you can lose the important data in a sea of irrelevant data if you retain everything.

Re:No attempts at finding other sources? (2)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774498)

I'm saying there is limited additional cost involved. You need to know that X materials came from vendors, was put into Y products, and was shipped to Z customers or resellers. This is not about extra paperwork, it's about properly accounting for what you already need to keep track of your business.

Re:No attempts at finding other sources? (1)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774672)

The issue is that when a product's paper trail is lost and it is sold to consumers all you have to do is hope there isn't a problem with that batch and you are fine. With the government you can lost your multi-million dollar contract so I am assuming they have to take more precautions and keep the data for a long time.

You don't understand MIL-spec testing (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773944)

MIL spec tests are very stringent. In the case of lubricants (solid film) tests such as Falex pressure loads and minimum run times are critical. Different batches made with the same ingredients often yield quite different test results. The QC of mil spec lubricants cost more than the raw materials where I worked for 22 years. If the military wants to make certain its planes, and missiles, fly without critical parts seizing up or smart missiles landing a mile away because the solid film lubricant wasn't quite as durable as expected, then testing and certification is critical. Every test fluid, machine, etc all must be certified to high quality standards. You think the cheap crap at the store is the same as MIL spec materials, simply because the have the same ingredients? You are very wrong.

Re:You don't understand MIL-spec testing (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774152)

You think the cheap crap at the store is the same as MIL spec materials, simply because the have the same ingredients?

I think in many cases the product at the store is superior in every way except variability, and further that in most of those cases the minimum results are in excess of the mil-spec. Of course, there are plenty of exceptions; when you get a single nut out of its own cardboard box with bubble wrap, that's because that's what it takes to be able to ship that nut anywhere in the world and still have it arrive in spec so that it can be installed into a multi-million dollar aircraft's engine. I don't know if the military is still using the same old lubriplate grease for firearms that it's been using for eternity, but if so it's being used because it's part of a working system that's well-understood, not because it's the best grease available.

Varability is another component (3, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774340)

As an example I've played around with DIY audio stuff and something that lots of enthusiasts like using is Vishay-Dale milspec resistors. Seems kinda silly, using milspec resistors in something like a headphone amp, until you look at their properties. You can get them with extremely tight tolerances, and with low variance over temperatures. They are very good if you want to make sure you are getting what you think you are getting over a wide range of conditions. They are also good at dealing with the unexpected. Like maybe you are worried that the power might be able to momentary exceed the resistors rating. No problem, the milspec parts deal with that, a 1/4 watt resistor can actually handle 1/2 watt with no damage, at least for a bit.

Now you may well not need to buy milspec parts to get that, however those parts DO get you that. Their milspec resistors are above and beyond normal cheap resistors in what they are willing to certify. When the idea is hand building something with very tight tolerances (in the case of an audio amp tightly matched tolerances means the amp should have a minimal impact on the sound) it is a choice that can make sense.

Then, speaking of tolerances and variability, even within the line there are differences. You may find that for a given type of 1/4 watt 1k resistor you can get it in 1%, 0.5% and 0.1% at an ever increasing price. They all seem to be made the same, it isn't like the 0.1% is a different design, like some of the really high precision ones. Well the deal is that when they make them, they come out different. So they test them and batch them. If you buy 1% parts, they are only guaranteeing the resistance to be between 1000 and 1010 ohms. Good enough for most uses, however if you need it tighter they sell ones that are tested to be closer to 1000 ohms and guaranteed, hence the tighter ratings. Costs more though, as many of them don't come out that perfect.

Re:Varability is another component (0)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774468)

The Vishay-Dale resistors might not even be the best part to use in the application. Every type of resistor has it's peculiarities, and carbon/metal film resistors have impedance characteristics that are different from plain old carbon composition resistors. They are more prone to have inductive properties that might even matter (or not) in an audio design, because they're usually based on a coil design, probably with a spiral pattern esp. if they're of such a high spec that they're laser trimmed. The plain old 'lump' resistance of a carbon comp. resistor can't be beat sometimes (but of course that type of resistor has it's 'issues' as well.)

Re:No attempts at finding other sources? (1)

tomp (4013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773576)

Perhaps. However in this case, I believe they felt burned by Lotus and decided to just buy whatever Microsoft was selling because surely it's what theprivate sector uses. And that must be what's best.

Re:No attempts at finding other sources? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773970)

Why does everyone bitch at the government for this? They have to purchase shit and if no one will sell a $4 tube of grease to them for anything less than $80, that's not the government's fault. That's the fault of idiots who demanded the process of competitive bidding for everything. We should be shitting down the throats of businesses who rape our public resources by jacking up prices for government contracts.

Us department of interiors response (1)

Octopuscabbage (1932234) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773330)

1. Google cloud services 2. Have random intern scroll through 100 pages of google 3. Go with microsoft.

Not a good sign... (2)

hawks5999 (588198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773332)

When a company has to litigate to get customers/compete, it's not a good sign.

Re:Not a good sign... (3, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773370)

When a company has to litigate to get customers/compete, it's not a good sign.

On the other hand, when the government simply decides to go with an existing vendor without considering other options, it's also not a good sign. After all, we don't want government wasting money on inferior solutions, do we?

Re:Not a good sign... (1)

hawks5999 (588198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773422)

Sure, but how much time is going to be wasted now that the inevitable bake-off has to happen? And how much more will it cost to continue to operate the existing infrastructure until the decision is finally made to go with Microsoft anyway? This is just a waste of taxpayer money all around. It remains that if Google has to sue to try to get a customer, even a government customer, it looks as though they can't compete on the merits of their offering. I'm not asserting whether that is true or not.

Re:Not a good sign... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773438)

How dare we expect an IT decision be made on the merits, no just what they read on some MS shill site.

Sad part is that they will not fire the gooberment turd that failed TO FOLLOW BIDDING RULES.

Re:Not a good sign... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773488)

How dare we expect IT people to make informed decisions in the job they were hired to do without companies sueing or screaming foul. I am constantly appalled at the waste of money in cases like this where it is blatantly obvious the IT department has made a pretty reasonable decision. just last year I had to watch a similar situation where the department I was contracted into was forced to go to tender for a measly 100k product (the tender process alone costs a minimum of 150k). Not all rules and processes are good or well thought out and they most definitely do not all happen with the best interest of the public in mind.

Re:Not a good sign... (4, Insightful)

wygit (696674) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773552)

You really think the Department of the Interior manager who made this purchasing decision is an IT person?

Re:Not a good sign... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773646)

*They* are IT people.

Re:Not a good sign... (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773572)

I have no idea what your objection means. The whole point of requiring a tendering process by government departments is to prevent abuses like politicians and/or bureaucrats giving their buddies lucrative contracts. Heck, I don't even directly work for the government, but am employed by a government contractor to run certain programs, and when purchasing equipment for those programs I'm required to get three separate quotes, and if I don't go with the cheapest one, I have to state why (ie. cheapest bid includes workstations with older CPUs, less RAM, insufficient OEM software, wrong edition of OS, etc.) It's a pain, but I understand the reasoning. Tax dollars are at play and I need to justify the expenditure.

Re:Not a good sign... (1, Flamebait)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773676)

The irony there is that individuals like Sen. Coburn go apeshit over the wasting of a few million dollars on a multibillion dollar budget item even as getting equally worked up when suggested that he should take it out of defense or raise taxes on the rich.

Pretty much anything in the US budget for less than about $15b isn't worth worrying about unless it's really easily pruned. And certainly anything under $1b isn't. We're going bankrupt on the huge expenditures for no gain, such as the DoD ridiculously huge budget and the various tax breaks to people that already have mansions.

Re:Not a good sign... (0, Troll)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773984)

Why should someone who has have to give it up for someone who hasn't?

Re:Not a good sign... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34774320)

Nobody is suggesting the rich give up their mansions to the government or the poor. But that was a nice attempt at trolling. ;-)

Re:Not a good sign... (1, Insightful)

micheas (231635) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774394)

Why should someone who has have to give it up for someone who hasn't?

Because the are disproportionately benefiting from those taxes?

A substantial percentage of US government aid in the last decade went to people with a net worth of over 50 million dollars.

A decent percentage of Military spending is spent to reward the contributors to Congressional campaigns, which makes that spending essentially Communism for the rich.

(Why do you think Lockheed Martin donates to Nancy Pelosi?)

The average Republican gets more financial aid from the US Government than they pay in taxes, the average Democrat gets less in financial aid from the US Government than they pay in taxes.

I'm not sure why so many people that are well off have this delusion that they receive no help from the government. It is almost as nonsensical as Justice Thomas complaining about the beneficiaries of affirmative action. (Justice Thomas would not have been admitted to his law school without affirmative action.)

Re:Not a good sign... (1)

Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774026)

The purpose of a tender is to find a solution to a problem, not to minimise outlay.

Wouldn't a more rational approach be to sort the bids by their ability to satisfy the terms of the tender, without reference to price?

Once this order is established the prices could be assessed. If the price of the vendor that best meets the requirements is considered excessive *then* one would have to justify picking a cheaper but less satisfactory vendor.

Re:Not a good sign... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774156)

If the lowest bid is adequate then you take it and everyone is happy. If not then you explain why. If you fail, your accountability is directly proportionate to how connected you are and has nothing to do with any of the paperwork anyway. Seems like a working, defective system to me. I don't think your proposal would actually fix anything, though.

Re:Not a good sign... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34774256)

You actually believe that having a tendering process prevents abuses? Wow, just wow. I have this nice shiny bridge over here, barely used, will sell it to you for a steal.

Re:Not a good sign... (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773826)

Even if they usually make good decisions, one has to allow for the possibility that that is not always the case. Google does not feel that it is, and the judge believes they have enough of a case to bring it to trial and to enjoin the Department of the Interior until that is complete.

Maybe they're wrong. Maybe it is from an abundance of caution. But really, if the process is valuable at all then people need to be made aware that they will be asked to account for it and for their decisions. Absent that, what is the point of it at all?

Re:Not a good sign... (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773904)

I've never worked in government, but I've found that writing the requirements specs is the hardest and most time consuming part of putting together an RFP, but until the requirements are known and documented, IT can't make an informed decision.

So by the time you document the requirements enough to make a good purchase recommendation, you may as well do a full RFP, and you may find out something new in the process.

In a recent procurement, IT's favorite choice (leader in the industry and some in IT had experience with the product) had to bow out because their product couldn't do something that the Finance department required from the product. If IT had just made the choice on our own, we would have bought the wrong product and found out later that it couldn't work for us.

Re:Not a good sign... (1)

wygit (696674) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773544)

So competitive bidding is a bad thing and we should just let whatever appointed drone with the authority over an agency choose to spend a few tens of millions because of a pretty sales pitch?

Re:Not a good sign... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773594)

I don't think you've got the AC's argument quite right. He seems to be saying "Putting contracts out to tender is hard and expensive so contracts should be awarded as those seeking the goods or services see fit, regardless of anything else."

First of all, I have no idea where the claim putting any contract to tender should be that expensive. Someone is going to have to determine the requirements of the contract before they even consider looking for a contractor, and the tendering process is simply publishing those requirements for potential contractors to bid on.

Re:Not a good sign... (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773640)

I'm sure Slashdot is the most objective place to determine which solution is the inferior one.

Re:Not a good sign... (2)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773718)

I'm sure Slashdot is the most objective place to determine which solution is the inferior one.

When did I suggest that slashdot was the appropriate venue to make such decisions? All I said was that options should be evaluated.

Re:Not a good sign... (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773694)

Especially when that existing vendor is a serial felon all over the world.

Re:Not a good sign... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773510)

When a company has to litigate to get customers/compete, it's not a good sign.

In the regular world, yes. But in the world of large government contracts, this is routine.

Re:Not a good sign... (2)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774054)

They don't need to litlgate, they need to learn to play the game. That means kickbacks.

Suing prospective clients? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773334)

This is never a good way to start a relationship with a client.

Re:Suing prospective clients? (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773348)

I don't think they're losing much, since it seems the Department of the Interior didn't seem interested in doing business with Google anyway.

Re:Suing prospective clients? (1)

DCFusor (1763438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773356)

It worked for SCO, oh, wait....

Re:Suing prospective clients? (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773394)

This is never a good way to start a relationship with a client.

Unless, based on the prev experience, other customers would be less inclined to ignore them. It's not like the laws allow the govt to be "pissed off for personal reasons"... or is it?

Re:Suing prospective clients? (0, Troll)

joeytmann (664434) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773410)

Agreed. Considering the previous /. article http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/11/01/1942259/Google-Sues-US-Govt-For-Only-Considering-Microsoft [slashdot.org] explains that they were only considering MS solutions, not MS as the implementor of said solutions. Google just needs to stop crying when it loses and says MS is evil.

Re:Suing prospective clients? (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773734)

And lets be honest folks: There is probably a damned good reason why they were looking at MS products only, and it was most likely because they have an assload of MS Stuff that would cost a mint to convert. I mean if they require Exchange and Sharepoint, they have a metric ton of VBA stuff being used, and Windows desktops everywhere, why in the hell should they be forced to accept bids that won't work? If Google wanted to submit bids on MS products as a VAR that is one thing, but Google docs ain't no MS Word.

It would be like forcing a design house to accept bids from some guy who wanted to rip out all their Macs and replace it with Ubuntu desktops running the Gimp. Does ANYBODY think that is a useful bid? Would they ever in a million years give up all that experience and custom in house code written for Photoshop just to use the Gimp? of course not.

By the same token I bet if we walked into the DOI tomorrow and did an audit on what they are running you'd find a bazillion Windows desktops, with tons of VBA macros, everything controlled by Active directory, with Exchange and Sharepoint. What good will come of having to waste tax dollars on a bid for a solution that won't actually solve anything? Is Google gonna pay to rewrite all that code for free? Are they gonna spring for the cost of retraining everyone out of the goodness of their hearts? No in the end they'll make the DOI jump through hoops before they finally hand them a list that says "These are the MS products we require, because all our stuff is tied into that and we will NOT pay for a complete overhaul!" and then Google will say "Uhhh...sorry we don't sell MS Products" and the money will have been blown for exactly jack and squat. If the DOI had said only MSFT was allowed to bid that would be one thing, but this is just stupid. It is trying to force a product that the customer does not want because they don't want a competitor to sell them a product they DO want. And in the end it is just that more added to the debt for absolutely nothing gained.

Pitiful actions and bad form Google, and from someone that has as much marketshare as you do it just comes off as looking petty and vengeful.

Re:Suing prospective clients? (5, Insightful)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773792)

They very well may have good reasons to go with MS and not Google, but they have to actually do the paperwork on said reasons. They are a government agency and have to show not only that they considered alternatives, but why they rejected them. In this case they did neither.

Re:Suing prospective clients? (2)

!eopard (981784) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773888)

Without documenting the end requirements and analysing possible solutions, you miss opportunities.

For all we know, Google may have been able to offer a complete solution to replace all those systems - include training and migration costs - at a lower price than the MS solution.

Re:Suing prospective clients? (5, Informative)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774276)

And lets be honest folks: There is probably a damned good reason why they were looking at MS products only, and it was most likely because they have an assload of MS Stuff that would cost a mint to convert. I mean if they require Exchange and Sharepoint, they have a metric ton of VBA stuff being used, and Windows desktops everywhere, why in the hell should they be forced to accept bids that won't work? If Google wanted to submit bids on MS products as a VAR that is one thing, but Google docs ain't no MS Word.

It would be like forcing a design house to accept bids from some guy who wanted to rip out all their Macs and replace it with Ubuntu desktops running the Gimp. Does ANYBODY think that is a useful bid? Would they ever in a million years give up all that experience and custom in house code written for Photoshop just to use the Gimp? of course not.

By the same token I bet if we walked into the DOI tomorrow and did an audit on what they are running you'd find a bazillion Windows desktops, with tons of VBA macros, everything controlled by Active directory, with Exchange and Sharepoint. What good will come of having to waste tax dollars on a bid for a solution that won't actually solve anything? Is Google gonna pay to rewrite all that code for free? Are they gonna spring for the cost of retraining everyone out of the goodness of their hearts? No in the end they'll make the DOI jump through hoops before they finally hand them a list that says "These are the MS products we require, because all our stuff is tied into that and we will NOT pay for a complete overhaul!" and then Google will say "Uhhh...sorry we don't sell MS Products" and the money will have been blown for exactly jack and squat. If the DOI had said only MSFT was allowed to bid that would be one thing, but this is just stupid. It is trying to force a product that the customer does not want because they don't want a competitor to sell them a product they DO want. And in the end it is just that more added to the debt for absolutely nothing gained.

  Pitiful actions and bad form Google, and from someone that has as much marketshare as you do it just comes off as looking petty and vengeful.

You clearly don't work in procurement.

The point of "considering a bid" is to establish all of those things you just said; a company can't be considered to just intrinsically know a bid from Google won't be any good, they need to actually see the bid so they can establish the facts.

A bid consists of a all sorts of things- firstly the price, but also consideration of the complete package, including costs to make everything compatible, converting archives, staff capacities for implementation, etc. If Google could offer to do absolutely everything required to make their solution work for considerably less than MS could offer the same (even if this entailed far less work for the MS engineers) then Google should win it. If they can't, they shouldn't.

That's the whole point of a fair tendering system. Ignoring that process is wrong, and a state agency deserves to be called out on it.

Re:Suing prospective clients? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774688)

I see your point, but it would reward companies for 'vendor lock-in', which is far too prevalent already.

Re:Suing prospective clients? (5, Insightful)

HaveNoMouth (556104) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773608)

Google doesn't give a shit about some measly $56 million, 5-year contact with DOI. That's chickenfeed to them, and they know that contract will eventually go to Microsoft anyway. They're sending a message to other potential government customers that if they play fast and loose with the bidding rules, the big dog will crap on their house.

I already see the /. comments.. (-1, Troll)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773362)

..and find it amusing that people are making cracks about how the govt dropped the ball, instead of the obvious fact that the govt. chose MS after considering options and google is just jilted. Because that would be evil.

Re:I already see the /. comments.. (1)

supertrinko (1396985) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773382)

The point of this is that the department did not consider all the available options. Google has made sure that they do so, and it's good for google if they choose anyone other than microsoft. The worst thing for google, is microsoft getting bigger.

Re:I already see the /. comments.. (1)

Dayofswords (1548243) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773434)

True, they may have brought up the injunction cause they wanted the money, any company would.

BUT the point is they won, thus the Dept did not consider options (or enough consideration) for other companys' services.

Maybe if this was like the 4th appeal, I'd say Google is being an ass, but winning the first round means they were in the right and doing as any company who offer similar services that were not taken into enough consideration, would do.

Re:I already see the /. comments.. (2)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773562)

Yeah, and in this case they didn't cover it at all well. Usually, you just add a bunch of useless hyper specific conditions that essentially forces X company. Here they bluntly said it had to be a MS solution to even apply.

Re:I already see the /. comments.. (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773578)

They did drop the ball, I don't want my hard earned dollars being spent on crap.

Re:I already see the /. comments.. (-1, Flamebait)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773706)

This is Slashdot, so Microsoft is the evil, wealthy corporation in collusion with the government, and Google is the poor, downtrodden, Linux-using upstart who didn't have a fair shot, even though they're a multi-billion dollar advertising company with controversial ties to the administration and investigations around the world over their "accidental" neighborhood data collection.

But, yeah. "Micro$oft" and all that.

Re:I already see the /. comments.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773914)

and you're the one who only posts on Slashdot whenever Google somehow comes up. you never make adjustments to your erroneous arguments even after you cede the point in another thread -- you simply pretend it never happened. either you enjoy being a contrarian or you work for some competitor of Google's.

Re:I already see the /. comments.. (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773992)

"Look at me, I'm insightful b/c I don't subscribe to the status quo!"

Corporate collusion with the government. . .why don't you Google, oops, I'm sorry, Bing! "OOXML" Yeah, it's not a tin-foil hat theory.

This cynical, apathetic attitude of yours seems to imply that all corporations are evil at some point, so why does it matter? I'll tell you why it matters: b/c one corporation has a corporate culture of corruption whereas the other has a corporate motto to do no evil. The average Slashdot user doesn't hate Microsoft b/c it's popular. When did a bunch of nerds ever prioritize conformity? The average Slashdot user hates Microsoft b/c of the company's unethical corporate culture and business practices. Knowing the history of Google and Microsoft, how is it possible to act like they're comparatively corrupt? Google may not always do everything perfect, but corporations are run by many people who have the power to make decisions. More often than not the decisions made by Google employees live up to their motto. More often than not the decisions made by Microsoft employees are in line with their culture of corruption fostered by Gates, Allen, and Balmer.

Google isn't perfect but that doesn't mean there's no distinction between them and Microsoft. If I only used the services of companies which are pure in intention and execution then I wouldn't have a cell phone, or internet service, or use prescription drugs. I can't boycott every company that's not pure and wonderful because here in reality those companies don't exist. But I can boycott (and publicly complain about) the worst offenders. That means Microsoft.

I don't know if Google has a legitimate case here or not, but do I want them to win either way? Yup, and it has nothing to do with a collectivist Slashdot mindset. Hell, I'd be fine with Google winning the case and then some other company like IBM getting the contract. I just don't want my government running on Microsoft technology. The government should only use Linux and Unix, but that's another argument altogether.

Re:I already see the /. comments.. (1)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774024)

This is Slashdot, so Microsoft is the evil, wealthy corporation in collusion with the government, and Google is the poor, downtrodden, Linux-using upstart who didn't have a fair shot, even though they're a multi-billion dollar advertising company with controversial ties to the administration and investigations around the world over their "accidental" neighborhood data collection.

But, yeah. "Micro$oft" and all that.

You forgot to mention how evil and proprietary Apple is. That needs to get worked in there somehow :-)

Re:I already see the /. comments.. (4, Informative)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773724)

..and find it amusing that people are making cracks about how the govt dropped the ball, instead of the obvious fact that the govt. chose MS after considering options and google is just jilted. Because that would be evil.

And I find it amusing that you spout off random nonsense, which happens to be the exact opposite of the article, Google's initial complaint, and what the court found, which was that the government did NOT provide proper justification or approvals, or considered any alternatives.

Let me quote the relevant part for you to save you from having to read the article (which you obviously (a) did not and/or (b) are simply trolling):

Judge Susan Braden of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims wrote, in an order made public late Tuesday, that a July determination by an assistant secretary naming Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite-Federal (BPOS) as the agency's standard for messaging and collaboration did not include "proper justification or appropriate approvals."

and...

The agency's determination that BPOS was its standard included "no estimate of internal agency cost" of other options, Braden wrote. The determination also failed to list any potential alternatives, including Google's attempts to sell the agency on its products, she (the judge) wrote.

Re:I already see the /. comments.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34774692)

Star Trek Phase II is a piece of shit Google Boy.

Re:I already see the /. comments.. (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773730)

But the government _did_ drop the ball. Not by picking Microsoft, but by not following the proper procedures in feigning whatever 'consider other options' requirements there were. If they haven't even bothered making up reasons why Microsoft won and Google didn't, then they have dropped the ball.

Re:I already see the /. comments.. (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773796)

And after the government spends $100K proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that google really and truly does not offer anything equivalent to Outlook after all, then we can all have yet another good whinge at the government for wasting $100K to prove what we already knew.

Re:I already see the /. comments.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34774308)

The truly sad thing is google really are a poor choice for the enterprise market. They are easy to not include in your evaluation processes as quite frankly their offerings suck donkey balls. So many people think, oh cool look how wonderful google search is and don't realise that google don't have a clue on how to make products for the enterprise.

Once you've made up your mind... (2)

DCFusor (1763438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773406)

Justification is easy to invent, it writes itself. Everyone already knows how to use XXX! No, they don't really, and if taking 10 minutes or even a whole day to lean something new is that expensive or difficult, should we not question why they have jobs at all then? We never do, though.

For medium skill sets, I've had the interesting experience of recently hiring a new secretary to do some work here, and set her up with (of course) a linux box, OO, all that. Taught her how to use even a PCB layout software in a couple days, amazing. But what really kicked my butt, was after a day or two, she comes up with "I like this, what version of windows is it, I've never seen anything work so smoothly before".

Yeah, big learning curve. Now, she's smart, to be sure. Shouldn't everyone commanding a really good paycheck be? If you're too dumb to move from one thing to another, why can't 5 of you be replaced by one smart person. As a small businessman, I think like that, because if I don't make money, none of us eat - I don't have the bernake's printing presses, you know. But in the long run, neither will they, you can only take that game so far. Gotta dump these folks who think they are entitled to getting paid for not having to think and learn. Hiring is tough right now. It's not that you don't get applications (gawd, you get buried). It's that no on worth hiring applies, and it just costs money to sort all the junk CVs and figure out why this or that loser got laid off their last job -- because as a business owner (and we all know this) -- your business is your people, you take care of the best or you fail. If you are forced to cut, you never cut the good people.....

If that offends some currently out of jobs, I'm sorry, but not that sorry. Too many of you have shown up here looking for work, and turning out to know only a tiny fraction of what they claimed, and when tried, unable to do as they claim, and/or do it so slowly I may as well do it myself. You may think you're entitled, but no, you just got a good ride for awhile -- doesn't mean you deserve it in return for nothing out of you forever, the times don't permit that for any business that's going to STAY in business.

Re:Once you've made up your mind... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773938)

Posting AC so I don't loose my job. Don't worry, this isn't flaming.

I find it troubling that you have more or less painted everyone who is unemployed with such a broad brush, that all of the unemployed here are low-skilled tech workers. The fact is, one out of ten -- and closer to one out of eight -- people who are capable of working are unemployed through no fault of their own. You may contend that with leaner times, the 'fat' is being trimmed and therefore they are, in fact, unemployed through their own fault. Are you seriously suggesting that this country has always been able to get along with a roughly 10% unemployment rate, because those who remain can do more and better work? No; the unemployment rate is high because the economy sucks; large and solvent corporations are putting away money for rainy days and executive golden parachutes, and smaller and struggling companies are trying to make ends meet when their vendors are folding and their clients are becoming reluctant or unable to purchase their goods or services. This is why you are firing people; the perceived low performance is the excuse.

Now, I grok the need for smaller companies to cut corners and stay afloat financially. It's a bad situation all around and I'm not one to think holding a gun to a small-business-owner's head is going to make jobs magically appear. But I think you need to recognize that your views of the unemployed pool are, really, wrong. While I am sure you have seen low-skilled tech workers in whatever hiring you've done, and come to this conclusion, I would contend that your data set is an extremely small part of an extremely large population. In other words, you haven't been exposed enough. It is also possible that you are not being specific enough in your job requirements. I have seen this countless times: An employer who wants a rockstar in Field X but what they really need is someone capable of doing a good chunk of Field X with some Field Y on the side, and some experience in Field Z. Or they want a total guru in Fields A B and C, but what they really need is one person who is awesome at A, and another who is awesome at C, and both of whom can speak enough B to do the job. You're quite quick to smack down applicants for not having enough skills; it is quite possible you are asking for the wrong skillsets for the positions you're looking to fill.

Or you could just be backhanding anyone who ever put a resume in front of you, and I'm sure you're getting a lot since, see above, one out of eight people are unemployed. That may be an unkind assessment since I don't really know you from Adam, but when someone says 'I'm sorry, but not that sorry,' it usually means 'I'm not sorry at all,' followed by cackling.

Finally, I feel the need to enlighten you about your employees: Firing even the lowest performer and telling those who remain to do the work of the person who was fired, including their own, will not lead to {more money in your pockets|increased capital for reinvestment]. It will lead to burned out employees. Whom you will then judge to be 'low performers' and then fire. I very strongly suggest you rethink your position on this. Of course, you will come back and say 'Don't tell me how to run your company.' I'm not; I'm very strongly suggesting you not run your people -- who are your company -- into the ground. You may not have been on /. for terribly long but I am sure you have read many stories from the trenches of how some bosses run their people ragged and simply fire them when they get worn out. In this economy, for some people that really is tantamount to murder (a slight -- but only a slight -- exaggeration. C.f. health insurance, disability coverage, and all the other things that the state does not provide that you have to, and which your former employees do not have access to anymore.) So I am asking you to not be That Boss.

Make of this what you will. I'm sure an AC is not going to help you to change your mind.

Re:Once you've made up your mind... (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773986)

Posting AC so I don't loose my job. Don't worry, this isn't flaming.

Do you work at such a broken company?

Re:Once you've made up your mind... (1)

cinderellamanson (1850702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774112)

I dont know what you just read, but all I can see is a brace closed with a bracket.

Nice precident... (-1, Troll)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773444)

I can see it now...

"Apple wins injunction against Dept of XYZ because it didn't consider Mac Mini's for the primary platform for processing tax returns as it decided to go with IBM p690s instead."

Sorry this is just a case of sour grapes.

Re:Nice precident... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773524)

Wrong.

If Apple decided they want to be part of the bid. They should be allowed in the bidding process. If they were excluded by IBM outright without consideration, then yes Apple would complain.

Google wanted to be part of the process, Microsoft excluded them.

Re:Nice precident... (1)

worx101 (1799560) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773566)

The fact that they won says there was evidence to suggest otherwise.

Re:Nice precident... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773714)

No it doesn't. It means that they were able to successfully argue to the judge that the injunction was necessary. It may be dismissed before a court case takes case, but the injunction was granted so that there would be something to sue over later on.

Re:Nice precident... (1)

EmperorOuk (870377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773872)

But to get the injunction you need to show you have a case, and that you're not just harassing the other party.

Re:Nice precident... (2)

Ponyegg (866243) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774398)

No, to get an injunction they merely need to show there _may_ be a case. The final outcome of any litigation after this will prove whether there _was_ a case to argue in the first place.

Re:Nice precident... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773854)

Either the MS shills are out in full force tonight or nobody is reading the article.

They didn't specify a list of reasonable requirements that Google didn't happen to meet. They specified a list of requirements that specifically said Microsoft needed to be the vendor. They weren't even considering other solutions which may have been equivalent or better.

Everyone would be angry if the government drew up defense contracts that specified they HAD to go to a certain company. Why should IT contracts be any different?

Does kinda sound like it (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774172)

I mean I can see once reason why this was a pretty much no-bid situation: BPOS is Microsoft Exchange. Well if that is what you want, BPOS is basically the only cloud solution to get it. Yes, Google offers similar products in terms of offering online e-mail and calendaring and so on. However they are NOT the same. If what you desire is an Exchange backend for Outlook, and that is what some organizations desire, then you only have one option. This is particularly true if what you use Blackberries (and the government loves Blackberries) since BES works with Exchange.

To look at it from the opposite side, suppose you've designed a website for LAMP, Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP and you find a nice host for that. You then get an angry letter from a host that does WIMN, Windows, IIS, MSSQL, and .Net hosting complaining that you didn't consider them, that they are cheaper and offer the same sort of thing. Well ok, I mean technically they are right. You can do anything on IIS/.Net you can on Apache/PHP. However it is a different platform, you'd need different supports tools and knowledge to use it and have to write your site differently. While the overall function (programmable hosting) is the same the specifics are not.

Similar detail here. Google offers similar overall function to BPOS. They are both online cloud based e-mail/calendaring solutions. I've used both, they both work well. However BPOS is Microsoft Exchange, Google is G-mail. If you desire one of those for specific reasons, the other is not a drop-in substitute.

Thats no cloud (1, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773504)

If is done by Microsoft, is probably vapor or smoke (and mirrors).

Re:Thats no cloud (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773738)

Don't fool yourself, most government data centers have colossal Windows infrastructure. I myself work in the colossal UNIX (linux these days) department. We also have a colossal mainframe department.

The Windows department is probably about 10,000 Midrange size servers of which many are liquid cooled. Think the highest end HP servers, like DL785's, etc. In UNIX we are migrating from SPARC to x64 now, but it used to be you could tell if you were walking down a row of Windows servers because the x86 was always hotter, so I always try and navigate down SPARC rows (or through SPARC rooms) in the data center because they are usually a nice 74 degrees instead of about 82-85. Frankly I don't even know what all these Windows servers do, but I do know a large part is serving "customers", which happens to be the average Joe who works here with a Windows machine on their desk, which is pretty much everyone. So a large part perform Microsoft OS related things, many are functioning as some kind of Middleware application server, etc.

This is really big news because Obama'a US CIO announced a few weeks ago that he wants to shut down about 500 data centers like this and move to "cloud computing". It was kind of sketchy if he was thinking of using Amazon, building their own, etc. But now we know that Microsoft has some kind of agreement with the US to provide cloud computing services. The thing to find out is what kind of infrastructure does Microsoft have - I bet it is HP. The shitloads of money that is going to be made off this is hard to comprehend. Microsoft is a major player in the cloud computing arena.

The above statement makes it look like the US is going to give Microsoft a few trillion to provide cloud computing services. A few google searches illuminates what is going on - the government has thrown "cloud computing" contracts into the air, and corporations will grab them, hopefully for them the biggest ones. For example the GSA just went with Unisys. We know from this article the Dept of the Interior went Microsoft. I would suspect Amazon, HP, and Google are going to be major players.

The subject of what should new/young people think about in IT comes up often, like "should I learn basic/java" or "should I mainly learn Punjabi", etc. A new person should definately look into cloud computing - there are going to be many, many careers on many levels coming out of this, it is a huge industry and is also new and exciting (even though it is kind of a buzzword for craploads of machines running something like Xen behind load balancers, which is what we have anyway).

Re:Thats no cloud (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773750)

If is done by Microsoft, is probably vapor or smoke (and mirrors).

Are you saying that a company that has specialized in vapor for decades would know nothing about a cloud?

Hmmm... ironically, I guess that's true. ;-)

Re:Thats no cloud (1)

laederkeps (976361) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774554)

The day Microsoft makes a product that doesn't suck is the day they make a vacuum cleaner.

--Lunchbox [bash.org]

Re:Thats no cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34774092)

Never mind that that have a functioning product with a multimillion subscriber-base already.

To paraphrase Tool: "Fuck all these meme-toting dicks with low UIDs."

(Learn to swim.)
 

Mistaken identity? (0)

drcoopster (539672) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773582)

I'm surprised. This is something that I would have expected from someone like Microsoft rather than Google.

Re:Mistaken identity? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773726)

It's not a surprise and it's really necessary. The contract itself is chump change for both MS and Google, but what's really at stake is whether or not the federal government needs to offer Google a chance to compete on contracts. As well as a chance to further its strides into the enterprise market for office software.

There is some argument over whether or not Google can provide what the agency needs in terms of security, but I don't think that the agency will be allowed to dismiss Google outright without giving them at least a chance to submit a bid and proposal.

Had, Google been allowed to bid and been turned down, it's unlikely that they would be filing suit.

Re:Mistaken identity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34774086)

Google were welcome to bid, they just couldn't meet the tender's requirement of integration with MS BPOS.

Google picks an easy target (1)

jsse (254124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773788)

While many people here thought it's a fair judgement, are skipping the fact that it was the Department of Interior who explicitly told bidders to deploy BPOS (Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite) to deliver cloud-based e-mail and messaging services. The bidders must comply as a bidding requirements.

Taking the prejustice out of the case, I personally don't think it's fair to penalize agency for being complied to bidding requirements. However, may be it's the only way to stop Department of Interior from issuing such bid again.

Fanboy Battle!!! (0)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773810)

Round One....

FIGHT!

Contracts should be awarded upon suitabilty.... (0)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773874)

.... and not tendency to monopolize.

.
Microsoft blew it big time here. In their efforts to lock up the U.S. Government, Microsoft stepped way beyond the realm of common sense dignity and fairness.

This only illustrates that Microsoft is still unable to compete on a fair playing field, and that Microsoft continues to require a bias towards them in order to win comparisons of value, functionality and/or worth to the project.

Only Google is Allowed to Cheat for Govt Contracts (0)

techSage (716096) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773956)

So, Google (via Unisys) was allowed to cheat government rules to get a contract (http://washingtontechnology.com/articles/2010/12/03/gsa-cloud-microsoft.aspx), but they're going to talk about how Microsoft is breaking rules with this DoI deal? Hypocrites!

Yeah, right. (1)

petman (619526) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774442)

Google applauded the decision. "As a proponent of open competition on the Internet and in the technology sector in general, we're pleased with the court's decision," the company said in a statement.

Yeah, it's all to do with 'open competition' and has nothing to do with Google's bottom line.
I don't fault Google for taking this action, but I do detest condescending remarks such as this.

US Dept of State uses sharepoint (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774702)

I once helped someone over at the US Dept of State to build the beginnings of a page memorializing the late Ambassador Holbrooke. The HTML rendered fine in all browsers including MSIE6 until it was uploaded to sharepoint. I don't know much about sharepoint except that it breaks HTML even worse than MSIE6 by itself. The way I see it, the fact that nearly all of the US government depends exclusively on MS products needs to be enjoined. Not only is the government breaking its own rules the majority of the time by doing so, it is knowingly employing security risk.

(disclaimer: I know, when "done right" Microsoft stuff can be more secure than it typically is, but seriously? That's like saying "when prepared right beans and cabbage don't make you fart.")

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