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back to article Google sues US gov for picking Microsoft

Google has sued the US government, claiming the Department of the Interior didn't give Google a fair shake when it settled on hosted email and collaboration services from Microsoft. According to Google's suit, first turned up by Santa Clara law professor and tech law blogger Eric Goldman, the Department of the Interior recently …

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Anonymous Coward

Excellent!

MS made a business out sueing their customers.

Google have decided they'd like to do the same.

(Sue MS's customers that is).

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Anonymous Coward

How to win friends and influence people....

....is something Google needs to learn. Suing the customer is unlikely to be a successful approach....

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Stop

Re: How to win friends and influence people....

They haven't sued a customer. That's the problem. They had no option of them becoming a customer. But the point was that government agencies should be required to consider proposals from competing bidders, which is an even wider problem than just this case. It's also been the case in UK schools where the school were only allowed to choose from a selection of Microsoft-only options, meaning it allowed a private business a monopoly for a public service.

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RE: Thorn Brown

IT's also one of the reasons budgets go over by billions in the UK quite often, including the NHS computer system

Competition should be encouraged

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FAIL

Competition

Competition...as long as you mean "collaborative" and not "antagonistic for profit", then you're bang on the button. Google Reality Info dot org if you want to know more...or just live life in the clouds...

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Wow ..

Google suing the government because they got locked out of a deal. They evidently haven't been involved in many deals. Everybody gets locked out of some deals, it is how the world works and nobody is exempt. Are they going to sue everybody that keeps their unwanted products out of the organization? They will be very busy. Also, bad form to sue a potential customer with a long memory.

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A governement is supposed to be different

Re: "Google suing the government because they got locked out of a deal."

It is one thing for private corporations to pick any vendor they like, but quite another for a (non-banana-republic) governement to funnel taxpayer dollars to a particular private corporation without a proper unbiased tendering process!

Of course, governement employees being humans, that still happens, but it is not OK in countries with a proper rule of law, and therefore Google is right to make a big fuss about it.

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Anonymous Coward

Missing the point...

So, a government agency wants a private network for security reasons. Google wasn't willing to invest the money to do that but is crying foul they weren't given the money to implement a system that they weren't going to implement. I'd be interested to know what major organisations Google consider comparable - after all it is hardly a big deal if a McDonalds order for 10,00 hamburgers gets leaked. Quite the opposite if it is some state secret.

Google have a hell of a lot of information about more or less everybody. You'd hope the need for security would be something they'd understand.

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Anonymous Coward

Privacy

If the government considers privacy of even minor importance then Google are a non starter as they can't be trusted not to snoop at any information that passes through their hands..

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WTF?

Do what?

And Microsoft can be trusted?

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Trust Microsoft?

Compared to a saint, no they can't be trusted.

Compared to google, yes they can.

You can't trust _any_ corporation completely. Some, however, are worse than others. Google show a lot more flagrant disregard for the privacy of customer data than Microsoft ever have.

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WTF?

Security? Google? In the same senence?

I'd say it was a joke, but c'mon. Seriously?

Guess they didn't pay off their buddies in the White House.

Either that, or the deal didn't percolate to White House CTO's desk before the deal was baked.

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WTF?

Good for Google! Did MS write the RFQ as well?

Too many government departments send out an RFQ having secretly selected their favourite supplier. Often the favoured supplier 'assists' in drafting the RFQ.

Google has put h U.S. Government departments on notice that it won't be shut-out by tricks of old. Halloween is past!

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Not just governmental departments...

...although they are probably the main culprits.

Nice to see a blow struck for level playing fields and all that, but I'm not sure how Google hope to come out of this a winner... "No, see, we'll sue them, and then they'll *know* we seriously wanted the business, and they'll be all like 'sorry dudes' and we'll be 'it's cool, we aint mad atcha' and then we'll hug..."

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isn't google sueing itself

And how can a corporation sue "the people" Corporations aren't permitted to sue indviduals and by sueing the government you are sueing us.

I got news for ya google, all those free $50 adwords things you send me all wind up in the trash.

don't want your service, don't give you a dime.

you already have enough of my personal information and you are the NSA.

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JDX
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Alert

Star Wars

Watching Google right now reminds me of watching Anakin Skywalker in episode 1. Seems all sweetness and amazing potential, but you know where it's going to go.

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WTF?

Microsoft and security in the same breath ?

Commentators alleging here that it was for reasons of security that the US Department of the Interior floated a request for quotation which only considers proposals involving the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite would do well to read Dan Goodin's Reg article (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/01/internet_explorer_600_day_bug/). Security problems, as we all know, are rife in IT, but to propose Microsoft as the solution shows either naked self-interest or a degree of naiveté which is hardly credible. Writing a specification to pass a given company's product and only that product is not the way to run an organisation, whether government or private - although it may benefit the personal economies of certain officials....

Henri

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Yikes

We might be next... i didn't consider Google either when we updated our systems.

Best call the lawyer!

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Rule #1

The customer wants private infrastructure, for reasons they don't specify, but appear to be security requirements.

Google don't want to do this and tell the customer that they are wrong, they don't need to do it like that. This breaks rule #1 of customer services.

Google then further ingratiate themselves with the customer by suing them.

This is not exactly a textbook way to develop a new business market.

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Rule two

Quite often its a good thing to point out to customers when they are wrong. If done in the right way you can gain credibility as well as design a better system. All too often it seems IT services company x will build whatever crappy system the customer thinks they want (Or in reality what the services company thinks the customer thinks they want) with disastrous results.

Pitch to the customer that hey you think you need x to meet your requirements but we have a solution that meets those requirements without it and is cheaper. Then prove it with PoCs / etc and the work should be yours assuming there is no bias. In this case it seems there was a decision made possibly before tendering even (Probably on a golf course) and they just refused to listen. If I paid tax in the US I would not want to see my politicians pissing money away on overly complex solutions - so Google are right to sue.

In terms of not getting repeat business - as other people have stated it "should* be different with a government. Reality is if they are not wining and dining the right people then I doubt they will get far.

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Not about Google, MS, security or other techie things...

All about a government agency following correct practices when evaluating and then investing in a solution!

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Note carefully who they are suing

The DOI is (allegedly) the most corrupt, despised department, the barrel where all the bad apples get thrown.

Google Jack Abramoff for more details (see what I did there?)

So no, Google are not going to make a lot of enemies by kicking over that particular anthill, and it's been a long time coming.

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rvt
FAIL

Somebody knows that somebody knows

Sounds like to me that somebody knows that google's mail is tapped? (as we all know....)

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Joke

printf("Title");

This is going to be great.

The US Government is broke and has a deficit of $13.616 trillion dollars whereas Google has a market capitalisation of almost +$200 billion dollars.

Google has more money than the US Government so can afford a lengthy legal battle in court.

Bring it on!

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Unhappy

Governments should play by the rules

A procurement procedure should be followed. The government department in question had no right to bypass fairness and a full and proper evaluation on the expenditure of public money, by awarding the contract to Microsoft before the process had been properly completed.

Google have every right to sue, and this government departments funding body should kick some irresponsible butt that was responsible for short cutting the procurement process. But if government is as government does, this will probably all be swept under the carpet.

Public bodies have a responsibility to the public for the money they spend and an attempt to get around a requirement of transparency and fair dealing should result in people being unceremoniously fired. ... but that's just my personal opinion.

End of story.

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Gates Horns

UK Govt owned by MS...

The trouble is, MS has already rooted UK government... look at the (Microsoft) Government Gateway, that was produced by MS for the UK Government at a cost of tens of millions of pounds, then the intellectual property rights in it were given away - completely free - so that MS could flog it elsewhere for profit.

And it doesn't even observe open standards! Because it was based on GovTalk, the government version of MS BizTalk, it can't ever conform to RFC2822, and therefore thousands of UK citizens can't sign up for online services that use the Gateway because their (perfectly legal) e-mail addresses are rejected by the Gateway as "illegal addresses"... duh!

It's bad enough that the same MS security vulnerability (deeply embedded in MS systems and unfixable without a complete Windows re-write) prevents people using some commercial Web sites based on MS software, but at least then citizens can vote with their wallets... if such a site rejects my e-mail address, I just buy elsewhere. But with the Gateway, and its growing monopoly on online public sector services, I don't have that choice.

Even taking the complaint up to Cabinet Office level (because the problem breaches the Cabinet Office eGIF standards) didn't help... basically, "tough shit, that's the system and that's it".

And folks are surprised because schools are made to buy Office? Ha!

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Gold badge

Depends on what the real issue is

Well, the way I see it.. there's one thing if the Dept. of Interior rejected Google because they would not segregate some machines for DOI use. If that's the case, Google refused to meet a stated requirement; whether that requirement is overkill or not is quite immaterial. Although, frankly, I think they'd better check out Microsoft REALLY closely to make sure they are REALLY giving them their own machines, instead of just some virtual machines that "float around in the cloud" or something. It's ENTIRELY another issue if they specified "Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite", this is most anticompetitive to specify a SPECIFIC product instead of a set of requirements.

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Linux

If Open Source is good enough for NASA

...and the NSA wrote a good share of linux security code, why not use what's free and government approved? It boggles the mind. Even the White House uses Linux. Ric

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Mmmm...

Dear El Reg,

Is there any American tech company that isn't suing or being sued?

<yawn>

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