Microsoft has accused Google of lying about Google Apps being federally certified as secure. The federal certification, known as FISMA, means software is secure for government agencies to purchase and use. FISMA stands for Federal Information Security Management Act.
In a blog post Monday, Microsoft points to a brief by the Department of Justice saying that while Google has been claiming it has FISMA certification for Google Apps for Government, it does not.
Microsoft and Google are competing to provide cloud versions of e-mail for federal agencies. Microsoft is selling Office 365 and hosted Exchange. Google is selling Google Apps, a paid version of Google Docs.
Google sued the U.S. Department of Interior for granting a contract to Microsoft, claiming the agency had not put it out for a fair bid. A judge ordered the department to re-evaluate the contract.
“Open competition should involve accurate competition. It’s time for Google to stop telling governments something that is not true,” said Microsoft deputy general counsel David Howard in the Microsoft blog post.
Google did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Update 2:13 p.m.:
Google released a statement from David Mihalchik, business development manager of Google Enterprise, who said, “We did not mislead the court or our customers,” and that Google Apps received a certification from the General Services Administration in July. Mihalchik says the Microsoft software the Department of Interior selected is also not certified.
Microsoft says that getting federally certified from one federal agency, the General Services Administration, does not constitute certification by another agency, such as the Department of the Interior.
Microsoft also said that the Department of the Interior selected Microsoft with the intention that it would qualify for the certification. The Department of Justice said in its filings that the Department of Interior believed Google could not meet its minimum security requirements to get to that point.