When the public sector and the private sector mix, things get sticky. This is highly visible when it comes to awarding government contracts, where far too often it seems that one company or another is being given unfair preference — with the motivations being anything from less than thorough research to more shady possibilities. According to Google, we’re seeing just such a preference of the Department of Interior’s contract with Microsoft.
According to a report at Information Week, the $59 million contract for cloud-based productivity and messaging programs was awarded to Microsoft without following the details of the Competition in Contracting Act, which states that any federal agency must thoroughly investigate all possibilities before making a decision. Google quickly filed an injunction, which it recently won.
The injunction means that the contract decision was remanded and that Google, as well as any other possible competitors, must be given a fair bid. Google’s key push in courtrooms to obtain the injunction showed that while they were unsuccessfully trying to get the attention of decision makers, a Microsoft pilot program was already underway.
Google is “pleased with the court’s decision,” but Microsoft representatives say they’re confident that things won’t change because of the remanded decision. A Microsoft representative stated that it was “determined that the dedicated, U.S.-based cloud solution offered by Microsoft met its minimum security and other requirements after a careful and thorough evaluation, and that Google’s solution did not.” This claim, if true, may be because of the private tenant housing for cloud servers offered by Microsoft. Private tenant housing separates the physical servers from other cloud servers, granting an extra layer of privacy and security. Google, which currently offers only multi-tenant housing, has passed Government standards for security, but does not provide this additional layer.