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Google Drops Cloud Lawsuit Against US Government

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the seeing-eye-to-ear dept.

Cloud 86

jfruhlinger writes "A year ago, Google sued the U.S. government because the government's request for proposals for a cloud project mandated Microsoft Office; Google felt, for obvious reasons, that this was discriminatory. Google has now withdrawn the suit, claiming that the Feds promised to update their policies (PDF) to allow Google to compete. The only problem is that the government claims it did no such thing."

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Well, then... (3, Funny)

mat catastrophe (105256) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538194)

It appears Google's Jedi mind tricks won't work on the US government.

Re:Well, then... (1)

NorbMan (829255) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538220)

I don't see why it didn't. Jedi mind tricks always work on the weak-minded.

Re:Well, then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37538238)

But do they work on those with no minds at all...?

Re:Well, then... (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538248)

This isn't the message board you are looking for.

Re:Well, then... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538612)

This isn't the message board you are looking for.

Shit. I was just about to post a really good comment too.

Re:Well, then... (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538732)

just wait 12 parsecs

Re:Well, then... (1)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539172)

then this definitely is not the message board you are looking for!

hate to quote the prequels, but... (2)

Brucelet (1857158) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538354)

Mind tricks don't work on me. Only money.

Re:Well, then... (2)

cormandy (513901) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538236)

These are not the online productivity tools you are looking for...

Re:Well, then... (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538268)

We're talking about Microsoft Office, not productivity tools. ;-)

Re:Well, then... (2)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539474)

I actually really like Office, even Office 2010 believe it or not. I find Google Docs to be horrible and cause more problems than anything else. Open/Libre Office just isn't there yet. I'm not saying it couldn't be, I'm just saying that its the type of project that requires corporate sponsorship and paid coders because office suites aren't "cool".

Star Office fell by the wayside and got turned into Open Office in a Netscape-like death-throw. Word Perfect could have won the word processor game, but they sat on their asses too long and now no one but lawyers and weirdos uses it anymore. Say what you want about Microsoft from a techie/nerdy perspective, but face it -- when it comes to business and productivity applications, they really have their ducks in a row. Viso is sine qua non, and there is nothing else that touches it. The ribbon in Office takes some time to get used to, but I wouldn't really want to go back to the old interface at this point.

My office subscribes to google docs, largely for email and calendar. the actual "docs" part of google docs is a piece of crap that no one can work with, but not for the fact that half the people in engineering use Linux and everyone not in engineering has a Mac. I have Linux and FreeBSD in VMs and run Windows as a host because I can't live without Visio and Google Docs pisses me the fuck off when I'm trying to write documentation or project proposals. I even use Office on my MBP because, lets face it, iWork is for degenerate hippies.

When Google Docs or Open Office can open a doc or docx without exploding for the formatting all over the place and making the document unusable until you jigger it back into more-or-less the same way it was supposed to be, only to be completely broken for the original party when you send it back, then maybe it would make sense to consider them. Until then, I really think they're only good for situations where you're not actually doing work for money and needing to inter-operate between many different people, some of whom are not using them.

Re:Well, then... (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539726)

For my personal and business (small business owner) I find that open office is significantly more powerful than anything I need. I typically get by fine with Google Docs. The only thing OO and Google Docs don't have perfect is Office file formats, which frankly I can't remember the last time this was an issue.

Re:Well, then... (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 2 years ago | (#37540138)

My business has been using Open Office since we opened it in 2003 (actually, we used Star Office back then). A word processor is the single most important piece of software in my line of work. I don't know what I'd get from MS Office that I don't get with Open Office. Everything we do is text heavy with some basic formatting and we also need to have templates that are able to suck info from a database. Open Office does all this just fine and I don't have to cough up hundreds of dollars for every update or if I add a worker.

One nice thing about the Open Office file format is that it isn't binary -- it's a zip file of plain text files. I'm an amateur crappy programmer, but even I could write some PHP scripts that would manufacture an envelope file from database contents. This saves 60s or more every time we need to print a client envelope because instead of doing a mail merge with our database, we can just push a button in our database interface and up pops the envelope -- press print button and close. Takes 2 or 3 seconds at most.

Re:Well, then... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37545936)

One nice thing about the Open Office file format is that it isn't binary -- it's a zip file of plain text files.

This has been true for MSOffice since 2007, as well.

Re:Well, then... (2)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#37540068)

Yeah, I was being snarky and perhaps overly unkind to Microsoft. I never expected to be modded "insightful--" I was hoping for "funny." Often the line between the two is blurry... Anyway, I think the merits of MS Word are debatable (die, ribbon bar, die! die! die!) but PowerPoint is the best software I never want to use. If your boss makes you produce slideware (and mine does), basically, everything else is garbage compared to PowerPoint for features and usability.

Re:Well, then... (0)

anagama (611277) | more than 2 years ago | (#37540184)

I've never used powerpoint, but Keynote is nice and much cheaper -- 20 bucks.

Re:Well, then... (2)

jittles (1613415) | more than 2 years ago | (#37540012)

We're talking about Microsoft Office, not productivity tools. ;-)

I have to supply documentation to the government that complies with MIL-STD-498. Google Docs, Open Office, LibreOffice, etc do not have enough functionality to comply with the standard. This has to do with sections, table of contents, table of authorities, etc. So you may be joking, but there is a reason that Office is a valid requirement.

Re:Well, then... (0)

SuperQ (431) | more than 2 years ago | (#37541170)

So you use LaTeX? Docbook XML? You know, real documentation systems?

Re:Well, then... (1)

jittles (1613415) | more than 2 years ago | (#37543918)

Perhaps LaTeX and Docbook XML are better at formatting documents, I don't know. I've never used either. But I do know that the people who review, accept, and ultimately use the documentation are often unskilled at computer use, and would likely not be able to use the software in the first place.

Re:Well, then... (1)

SuperQ (431) | more than 2 years ago | (#37585242)

Right, neither one of those formats are for the END USER. They're authoring systems that publish content into a different format. You don't give LaTeX to your end users, you render it to PDF.

Re:Well, then... (1)

jittles (1613415) | more than 2 years ago | (#37621778)

I told you I didn't know anything about them! And honestly, I don't care much. I hate doing these government documents, they never get read and provide way more information than will ever be needed.

Anyway, even if we could use those tools for our technical documents at the end of the project, we likely couldn't use them at the beginning of the contract life cycle, which is contract capture. The senior people in charge of writing our business plans have a hard enough time using Office, which they already "know." They aren't the kind of people that would want to learn something new. If these tools are easy to use for non-technical people then maybe other companies will have luck deploying them.

Re:Well, then... (1)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37541420)

So basically they kissed enough ass to allow them to be called 'MIL-STD-498 compliant'.
Because functionally , there's barely any difference between 'Open Office' and 'MS Office' .

They probably just payed money for the certification , and maybe did some minor changes to comply to it. Nothing Open Office couldn't do , but they probably can't pay for it.

Re:Well, then... (1)

jittles (1613415) | more than 2 years ago | (#37543888)

But you've obviously never done advanced formatting, because functionally there is a huge difference. If you took a MIL-STD-498 compliant document and then opened it inside of Open Office, all of the formatting would be ruined. If you tried to create a MIL-STD-498 compliant document in Open Office, you'd find that it is lacking the proper functionality to meet the requirements. It's not a matter of paying for certifications. Its a matter of capability. Trust me, my boss hates Microsoft and would rather create these documents with vi if he could. He's tried open office. I've tried open office. It just doesn't work.

Re:Well, then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37538478)

It appears Google's Jedi mind tricks won't work on the US government.

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speculations (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538266)

This entire story will be riddled with speculations.

There is Google, ONIX Networking Corp., Microsoft, US federal government (U.S. Department of the Interior), there are too many known and unknown unknowns (to para-quote the former minister of Offense).

It could be that there is private dealing between Google and MS or between Google and the federal gov't. There could be issues surrounding ONIX. There could be anything, from government threats to personal threats. Too many unknown variables.

Thus this is a perfect story, because all comments will be interesting.

Re:speculations (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538594)

Shall we look at the PDF and see if it has been amended, then?

Re:speculations (1)

rilles (1153657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538720)

The government didn't actually change anything, the conversion from microsoft word to google docs added extra "google happy talk". Google happy talk is the text google inserts into anything it gives you to make you feel better, but sometimes it backfires when the happy talk is just made up fluff. ooooh, a shiny ball....

Re:speculations (1)

cHiphead (17854) | more than 2 years ago | (#37542518)

You sound like a generic fud-raker...

Re:speculations (1)

Gospodin (547743) | more than 2 years ago | (#37560280)

Worst James Bond film of all time. FUD-Raker.

Re:speculations (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538788)

Thus this is a perfect story, because all comments will be batshit-crazy.

FTFY..

Re:speculations (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538890)

what's the difference?

Re:speculations (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539152)

People who are seriously into their politics and sport are often crazy, but I certainly don't find them interesting.. batshit crazy is slightly better I suppose, but it can still be tiresome.

Re:speculations (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539754)

Last I heard Google Docs wasn't "accessible" or whatever the terminology is that says Hellen Keller can use your software. If Google Docs doesn't qualify it's stupid for them to sue.

Re:speculations (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539828)

Holly crap, maybe that's a different Helen Keller, but if Google Docs can be 'accessible' enough for use by a person who died back in 1968, then I wouldn't be questioning the ease of use of the software, I'd be more concerned with the consequences to the Google owners of having sold their souls to the devil to make it possible for their software to be used by a dead person.

(and I am an atheist by the way, I would still have these questions.)

What? The inter-office memo wasn't disseminated? (1)

nemmi (33230) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538286)

Looks like their open-door policy with the DOJ just got them in trouble. Don't be evil--be brutal.

Google has an option ... (0, Troll)

netwarerip (2221204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538288)

The option to not bid on the project. This is like me requesting bids from contractors to paint my house and a contractor suing me because he doesn't like the color I picked. TFB, don't bid, and have a nice day.

Re:Google has an option ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37538348)

From the summary, sounds more like him suing you because you don't like the colour he is.

Re:Google has an option ... (2, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538352)

Except the government is not allowed to discriminate, while you are, and for good reasons. Google sued because it affected them, obviously, but it also affects the citizens since they're the ones paying.

Re:Google has an option ... (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37541056)

Except the government is not allowed to discriminate, while you are, and for good reasons. Google sued because it affected them, obviously, but it also affects the citizens since they're the ones paying.

Let's get it straight - Google threatened to sue, did a lot of bitching and moaning, and ultimately went home because they knew they had no case.

Re:Google has an option ... (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538396)

The other option would be: submit a proposal which includes Microsoft Office. I'm sure that Google can figure out how to package and resell it, while making money on their cloud services.

Unless, of course, Office cannot run on their cloud for some technical reason - which means it is broken, and they should concentrate on fixing it, not suing.

Re:Google has an option ... (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538460)

What if the technical reason is "MS Office will only connect to servers which sign their RPC calls with a particular private key (that MS just happens to have)"?

I'm not saying this is the case. It's just trivially easy to ensure that your program* won't play ball with the network services of a competitor.

* Closed source and un-cracked

Re:Google has an option ... (2, Insightful)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538422)

The reverse is true - Google had no option to bid on the project, because the RFP specified that the only product that would fulfil the requirements was Microsoft Office.

If the rules require you to have an RFP in the first place, they are intended to support competition. If you carefully phrase your RFP to only permit bids from one vendor, you are circumventing that intention.

It's like you requesting bids from paint manufacturers for white paint to paint your house with, and inserting a clause that says "Must be Dulux® brand paint"

Re:Google has an option ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37538556)

If you have a legitimate reason for requiring Dulux brand paint, then there's nothing wrong with that. Is it so hard to believe that the government might have so much money wrapped up in internal tools/processes/applications on top of office and the thought of migrating all of it and retraining all of their users is not something they were interested in at this time? There's a whole ecosystem of Microsoft hosters and ISVs.

They decided on Dulux paint and shopped around for which painter would do the best job with it.

Re:Google has an option ... (2)

BBCWatcher (900486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538646)

Then the agency shouldn't put out an RFP. They should issue a purchase order, as a sole-source procurement. It's either an open bid or it isn't. If the government agency is pretending it's an open bid when it isn't, then the agency is both misrepresenting its business dealings to the public and wasting bidders' time.

Re:Google has an option ... (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539752)

The government is required by law to put out an RFP for nearly every purchase. Bush and Cheney both should have been impeached for violating this law.

Re:Google has an option ... (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539818)

I'm sure IBM, Oracle, Google, Redhat and any number of other IT firms could provide cloud services and support for MS Office products.

Re:Google has an option ... (1)

BBCWatcher (900486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539976)

Only by subcontracting to Microsoft, and only if Microsoft was willing. Thus far Microsoft has maintained an extensive code portfolio exclusively for its own cloud offerings. Note that it's sometimes fine for a government agency to sole source a particular purchase. Sometimes there's only one viable choice. But the agency simply needs to explain why it should be sole source and not pretend the earth is flat. Google was correct here: the Department of the Interior was pretending the earth is flat.

Re:Google has an option ... (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#37540072)

I don't know that purchasing licenses of Office should be considered "subcontracting" Microsoft. I would assume that the enterprise license of Office would barely be a blip on the radar compared to the manpower/support costs.

Re:Google has an option ... (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#37540104)

Let me rephrase the item below. Let's say someone contracts my company to write an iOS app and one of the deliverables is a working/running copy of the software on an iPod Touch. I would not consider the fact that I have to buy and deliver an iPod Touch to my client as "subcontracting Apple."

Re:Google has an option ... (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539716)

Standard Operating Procedure in the DoD and defense industry is to email a word doc as an email attachment. They almost never send any useful information in the body of an email, even if that context is plain text.

Re:Google has an option ... (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 2 years ago | (#37540234)

That's an awful analogy.

This is more like you request bids for house painting but require that the painters use the paint that Painting Company A manufactures. Painting Company A will not sell the paint to other professional house painters, but it will apply that paint to your house. This becomes not an open bidding process, but a price request from Painting Company A.

Now, somebody will fix my bad analogy and eventually, a good one will emerge.

Re:Google has an option ... (1)

netwarerip (2221204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37543106)

That happens all the time (in my paint analogy). Customers want a certain brand, certain color, etc. I don't see the difference (or why my first comment was considered 'trolling', but whatever). MS Office has a 94% market share (if you believe http://www.dailytech.com/Office+2010+to+Launch+Today+Microsoft+Owns+94+Percent+of+the+Market/article18360.htm [dailytech.com] ), then why wouldn't any company, gov't or otherwise, be justified in requesting it?

Google Docs (1)

V-similitude (2186590) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538374)

I really want to like Google Docs (especially since I have a good friend who works on them at Google). But as someone who uses excel constantly in my job, and Google Spreadsheets a lot for personal use, there's just no comparison. There's zero possibility of doing what I need to do in gDocs, sadly.

Re:Google Docs (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538492)

Yeah, there's a free spreadsheet used in archery, Stu Miller's Dynamic Spine Calculator, which doesn't work in Google Docs --- I've suggested to the author that he contact the developers and try to get it working in Google Docs, but no success thus far.

Re:Google Docs (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538772)

I've suggested to the author that he contact the developers and try to get it working in Google Docs, but no success thus far.

And why should he? Obviously it works on what 99% of the people use it for, why should he put in extra effort so that a fringe group can use it?

Re:Google Docs (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539656)

Actually, my understanding is the developer _did_ contact Google, but there was no response, and Google Docs spreadsheet still doesn't support the Excel features needed by the tool.

I know it's not a popular bullet point, but until Google Docs is 100% compatible, complaints like this don't have much grounds to stand on.

Moving goalposts (1)

kennykb (547805) | more than 2 years ago | (#37540384)

I know it's not a popular bullet point, but until Google Docs is 100% compatible, complaints like this don't have much grounds to stand on.

The difficulty: 100% compatibility is impossible even in theory. All that Microsoft need do is push a patch that adds or changes some minor feature, and now its competitor is no longer "100% compatible." So a Microsoft troll can always argue the "100% compatible" point, and win it by moving the goalpost. (I don't argue that you are a Microsoft troll, by the way: merely that you are advancing the argument that a Microsoft troll would advance.)

Of course, in the real world, the goalpost does move, because Microsoft is a monopoly and has captured the government. Microsoft products cannot interoperate perfectly even with themselves (ever try to open a 10-year-old document?). Nevertheless, failure to interoperate perfectly with Microsoft products dooms all competition to irrelevancy as "non-mainstream." Any non-Microsoft software, to be successful, has to address a problem for which Microsoft does not have even a bad solution. For instance, software to simulate the operation of a chemical plant might stand or fall on its technical merit. But even that might fail, because it likely has inputs and outputs that are tables of numbers, and therefore will face "100% compatibility" issues with Excel.

Given that no government at this point can intervene without crippling itself - governments run on PowerPoint, and Microsoft has them by the short hairs - I don't see the situation as changing very soon.

Re:Google Docs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37539050)

I have to say this as well.

Excel is a fantastic tool. As much as I HATE Microsoft as a company, and recent Ribbon nonsense in Office, Excel is just godly for working with numbers.
It even doubles as a simple game platform and grid planning system for creating CSVs for games too. (one alternative use I made of it)
Admittedly that last use there can be done easily in Google Spreadsheets with the Rules stuff. In fact, the game might even be possible now, didn't they add some sort of scripting system to it?

I used them extensively throughout college to easily work with it back at home instead of waiting for memory sticks to copy.
But some stuff was just impossible to do because at the time it had no (still hasn't?) way of making interfaces, which we used in Excel. (VBA...)
While that has absolutely no officialness in terms of spreadsheet work, it is college work, go figure. All about the VBA, instead of teaching us actual skills, like using a programming language to read the file. Hell, even in Java if need be, anything but VBA...
For documents though, Docs was pretty fine for everything I needed to do.

A verbal contract is worth the paper (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538474)

it's printed on, when one is dealing w/ those whose given word is meaningless, and who don't understand the commitment of a firm handshake.

Should have gotten it in writing, w/ formal signature, from someone w/ the authority to make that commitment.

The Feds broke the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37539158)

Never mind verbal contracts, they BROKE THE LAW, that requires them to seek open bids. They had a prototype made up with Microsoft BEFORE even asking for bids, then awarded it to Microsoft.

The bidding process was a COMPLETE SHAM and they don't have to change any process to fix it, THEY NEED TO ABIDE BY THE BIDDING LAW AS THEY ARE REQUIRED TO DO.

That bidding process is there to stop them paying too much for crap technology. This is especially important when you can't afford to borrow any more money. It's there to protect joe tax payer from spendy Feds. If they don't like it they should feel free to hand in their resignation and join the real world.

Re:The Feds broke the law (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539880)

Actually the bidding process is there so that businesses can bid way under cost, steal the money, and then demand more money or if it's a small business just declare bankruptcy spawn a new corp and rinse/repeat. I'm not familiar with these large scale IT contracts but that's the way it works in government contracting for construction (roads and such).

Re:The Feds broke the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37540124)

Oh wow. Look, an Anonymous Coward foaming at the mouth about the federal government and Microsoft.

You got any facts to back up all your legal opinions, or are you just a shouty mad fucker who likes to yell?

Solution! (2)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538508)

Obama should simply invite everyone over for pizza and beer!

Re:Solution! (1)

paxcoder (1222556) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539232)

Because he's such a cool guy so that whatever the output of his intervention is, noone will complain?
The change you can believe in all you want.

Re:Solution! (1)

Disfnord (1077111) | more than 2 years ago | (#37540800)

I hate that Noone guy, always complaining about everything.

Re:Solution! (1)

paxcoder (1222556) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546678)

Obama at Notre Dame: You can certainly think abortion is murder, but rather than doing anything about it, let's have a discussion. Don't complain now, agree to disagree: You can speak your mind on an occasional talk show while we crush another baby's head.

Problem solved. Big smile. Confident wave. Applause and approval.

Hilarious, isn't it, player Disfnord? Well that's the theater of absurd for you.

Making inroads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37538810)

Google is making inroads into the government even without the lawsuit. NOAA is in the process of migrating to Gmail/Calendar/Docs, after Google won a fair competition with multiple other vendors. I can only assume Microsoft was one of those. GSA has already moved to Google.

I suspect it is more a case that Google's lawsuit got government agencies' attention, so now they are putting out their requests for quotes without the MS assumptions. Google accomplished what they wanted (aside from being allowed to bid on this particular contract), without going to trial. Kudos to them for withdrawing and not wasting everyone's time and taxpayer dollars.

so what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37538830)

Someone at google forgot to send the government the new policies they wrote for them.

Re:so what (1)

ringman8567 (895757) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538926)

Either that, or they were not written with MS office!

Ad Win! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37538866)

As I was reading this article, I noticed that my ad on the right side was for Office 365.

google to replace Microsoft? don't think so... (1)

Zadig (26610) | more than 2 years ago | (#37538886)

Do you really think that Google will replace Microsoft and do the same job? I don't think so...
In the last 15 years that I've been working full time with all sort of products (Microsoft, Apple, Google...), I can say that even if Microsoft's products are not necessarily the best products taken one by one, all together they are excellent.

I've been trying to work with Gmail myself to replace Exchange... this was the worst nightmare... for a small company, support is poor... sync does not work all the time...
On the other side, Exchange/Outlook never failed on me... even if hosted, it always worked fine. it may be more expensive, but at least it works fine.

All my computers are Macs (MacBook Pro, Mac Pro.)... but I'm still using Microsoft products (Office 2011) to get the work done correctly...

For now, Microsoft/Office is here to stay...

Re:google to replace Microsoft? don't think so... (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#37540020)

If you really need to rely on access to your mail/calendar offline then I wouldn't rely on the browser sync thing, just use your real mail/calendar fat client of choice. I agree though about docs not being "there" wrt offline use.

Not Even Remotely Going to Happen (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539186)

The government has so many legacy documents in Word. The entire defense industry revolves around Power Point (don't get me started, seriously everything is in Power Point). Asking for Microsoft Office as a requirement is completely legitimate.

Re:Not Even Remotely Going to Happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37539484)

"we have billions of documents in doc/docx/xls/ppt formats so if you want us to use your system you will need to use that"
"nope you have to spend billions converting to pdf".

Seriously? To ignore a customer request of that magnitude...

If they want people to use it they need to do what all the systems before them did. WP was able to read appleworks and visicalc formats. It was able to format easier and WAY better than anything out there at the time. MS created word. It was able to read WP files and format easier and WAY better than anything else out there at the time. If Google wants to do this they will need to be able to do the same thing. But now the bar is much higher now. Office is quirky and in some ways hard to use. If anyone wants to replace the office suite it has a ways to go. Openoffice was having a good shot at it. But ended up being a clunky in between of WP and Office.

Re:Not Even Remotely Going to Happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37539814)

Not to mention there are probably tons of other applications that directly integrate with the office clients. Some apps may utilize API to automate processes in Word and Excel, and they may also have addins that make life easier in Outlook. I am sure the government can write an RFP that, while not calling out that it requires Microsoft Office by name, would make it impossible for anyone to propose anything other than Office.

Re:Not Even Remotely Going to Happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37540282)

Wrong, requiring the ability to correctly read those legacy files is completely legitimate.

As is deciding after evaluating alternatives that Microsoft Office does the best job of reading it's own legacy files.

What is not legitimate is mandating that Microsoft Office be the only office package that's considered is not.

Could they Google the evidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37539464)

If there is even a single shred of documentation supporting Google in their claim, do the Feds think Google would not be able to find it?

One side is bullshitting. Which one will be shown by the validity of any evidence (or lack thereof) brought forward.

Re:Could they Google the evidence? (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539524)

Yeah, it's kind of hard to tell who is lying. That's why we need to do a Google search on it.

(Lame attempt at a joke. I may have excellent karma, but I'm sure this will drop it.)

Dismiss without prejudice (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#37539618)

Which is the key phrase in this whole business.

Among other things, it means that if the feds do not change things so only MS Office is acceptable, Google can restart the lawsuit with no problems.

Essentially, this is a peace offering by Google - "we want you to fix the objectionable part of your original RFP, and we'll stop suing you to let you do that in peace. BUT, if you don't fix it, we'll see you in court"

Scary thought: Google could make it happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37539790)

Tinfoil hat time!

Here's a scary thought, what if Google used its search to hide each and every contradiction to this claim? The Government could say "nuh-uh", but every search online would show they did!

We're not quite there yet, and I know China tries to do this now but in the opposite direction.

Re:Scary thought: Google could make it happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37539994)

Bing. Bing might not be a Google's level today, but that sort of brazen manipulation of search results would change that and make Google irrelevant pretty quickly.

This could still be a competitive bid - maybe (1)

kennykb (547805) | more than 2 years ago | (#37540490)

In the bad old days when IBM owned a monopoly on the computer business, there were a number of Federal Information Processing Standards that all but stated that procured equipment should have on the nameplate the ninth, second and thirteenth letters of the Latin alphabet as used in US English. They were opened for competitive bidding, and you'd think that only IBM could play. But sometimes it lost a bit because it was undercut by either a used-equipment dealer or even one of its own resellers. In fact, IBM used its resellers to prove to several courts that the bidding process was competitive. It would bid the contract at a non-discounted retail price, sell the equipment to a reseller at wholesale, and let the reseller undercut the price. It turned a tidy profit either way, and was still the sole manufacturer of the equipment. But as long as there was the formality of a competitive bid - which it lost - competing manufacturers had no legal leg to stand on.

Feds and office 365 and "the Cloud" (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37541360)

Most U.S. government agencies are as head over heals into vertically integrating microsoft solutions as could possibly imagine. Problem is that Microsoft and their zombie government followers (not all are followers but most in IP are) sell office 365 to management as a "cloud" solution when it's obvious that it's just managed exchange with a lightweight web version.

True cloud versions exist ENTIRELY within the browser without binary executables you have to install.

More likely reason (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#37541864)

they lost the brief they had saved in Google Docs.

You're doing it wrong. (1)

EkriirkE (1075937) | more than 2 years ago | (#37542246)

Wait for the changes THEN drop suit. Don't preemptively do so on "promises", especially from the USA.

Bah! (1)

angiasaa (758006) | more than 2 years ago | (#37544852)

They must have settled out of court. :P

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