December 9, 2010

Google: Government Favors Microsoft In The Cloud

Google says that it did not get the chance to compete for the largest federal government "cloud computing" deal, adding to its concern that government agencies are favoring rival Microsoft Corp.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it was moving 120,000 of its employees onto email, Web conferencing and messaging systems provided over the Internet by Microsoft, generally referred to as "cloud computing."

Google sued the U.S. government last month for excluding its products from being considered for a 5-year contract worth about $59 million to upgrade the Interior Department's email system.

Government agencies use cloud computing because it saves them money on maintaining a computer network as data is stored remotely, and it means users can access systems from anywhere.

Microsoft tends to win most government technology contracts in this area, but Google recently won a contract to provide a version of its online Google Apps service to the U.S. General Services Administration, the state of Wyoming and the city of Los Angeles.

The USDA said in a statement on Wednesday that its decision to use the cloud was part of a deal signed in May with Dell Inc. to provide online services from Microsoft.

The USDA said it had been working with Microsoft and Dell for the past six months on the project, which said would cut costs and improve efficiency.

Google said it had no opportunity to formally bid on the contract at any point.

"We were not given the opportunity to bid for USDA's business," said a Google spokesman. "When there has been a full and open competition, customers have chosen Google Apps, and taxpayers are saving millions of dollars."


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