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Google Sues U.S. Over Unfair Cloud Contract

The Department of the Interior's request for proposals to provide the agency with e-mail service is written to exclude Google, the company claims.

Google and one of its cloud service resellers, Onix Networks, filed a lawsuit on Friday against the U.S. government for contract requirements that make the companies unable to compete against Microsoft in a bid for government business.

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) is seeking a hosted e-mail and collaboration solution to serve its 88,000 users. The contract is estimated to be worth $59 million over five years.

Google wants to compete for the government contract but the Request for Quotations (RFQ) "specified that only the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite-Federal (BPOS-Federal) could be proposed."

Google claims that a "Limited Source Justification" directive issued by the agency's director of the Office of Acquisition and Property Management on August 30, 2010, represents single-source procurement "that is arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of direction, and otherwise contrary to law."

This the second time in recent months that Google has allegedly run into this problem. The company made similar claims informally following the State of California's decision to award a hosted e-mail contract to Microsoft last month.

California officials denied Google's claims that the state's process was unfair.

Google's lawsuit against the federal government describes a courtship with DOI officials that began in June, 2009, during which, the company alleges, it received tips that Microsoft's success in the bidding process was pre-ordained.

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