April 12, 2011

Microsoft, Google In Court Over Office Software

Microsoft is charging in court that Google is issuing misleading claims about the certification of a software package that the US Department of the Interior is considering for purchase.

Google is rejecting the charges and is seeking to be allowed to continue in the bidding process for the nearly $60 million contract.

Microsoft is claiming that Google Apps for Government, the internet-based suite of office tools from Google, had not been certified under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), laying out security standards for information management systems such as email.

David Howard, Microsoft deputy general counsel told AFP, "Given the number of times that Google has touted this claim, this was no small development. It's time for Google to stop telling governments something that is not true."

Google and Onix Networking Corp., a reseller of Google products, allege in the lawsuit that it was improperly dismissed from competing for a US Department of Interior contract to build a new email system for 85,000 employees, which Microsoft ultimately won.

Previously, a judge agreed with Google's belief that the bidding was rigged to favor Microsoft, and issued a preliminary injunction while the tech giants go through the court system with the complaints.

Google argued that the terms of the bid for an email, calendar and document collaboration system for Interior Department employees implicitly favored Microsoft. Google claims the software is approved for government use since an earlier, less-secure version of the product had already been certified under FISMA.

"We did not mislead the court or our customers," the company claimed, noting that Google Apps received a FISMA clearance in July 2010, and Google claims that Google Apps for Government is, "the same system with enhanced security controls that go beyond FISMA requirements," AP reports.

Relations between the Microsoft and Google are becoming more tense as both companies encroach on each other's previously separate businesses. In February, Google accused Microsoft's search engine Bing of copying its results.


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