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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

May 1, 2012 at 1:35 PM

U.S. Department of Interior chooses Google over Microsoft

After several years and court battles, the U.S. Department of Interior has chosen Google Apps for Government over Microsoft’s offerings to provide email and other cloud services.

As reported by Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet, a public notice posted Monday showed that Google Apps reseller Onix was awarded the contract for the DOI’s “hosted e-mail and collaboration system. The notice states that the winning bid was $34.9 million over seven years — considerably less than the DOI was prepared to pay last year.”

The Interior Department had sought bids to consolidate its e-mail system for 88,000 users in a five-year contract worth $59 million. But Google and Onix sued the DOI in 2010, saying the agency took bids only from Microsoft resellers and did not seriously consider Google’s bid.

In September, the DOI submitted a document to the U.S. Federal Claims Court, saying it decided not to proceed with the original request for bids but was going to prepare a new one. This led to giving Google the chance to compete with Microsoft, and Google and Onix withdrew their lawsuit.

The Interior Department issued a news release today, in which Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. said: “Implementing a Department-wide, cloud-based email system that helps modernize the ways we do business while cutting costs is good government, plain and simple.”

The contract consolidates the agency’s seven different email systems into one. Users will have the option to use web-based tools or traditional desktop software to access the system, which also integrates seamlessly with mobile devices, according to the agency’s news release.

Google issued a statement, saying:

We’re honored that the Department of the Interior has selected Google Apps for Government, and we look forward to working closely with the DOI to give employees new communication tools.

Microsoft issued a statement too, saying:

Microsoft has a positive, longstanding relationship with the Department of Interior and we are working on a number of enterprise-wide initiatives with the agency. Although we are disappointed by this award, we will engage with our partners and DOI to review and understand the reasons for this decision. Microsoft remains committed to providing our customers with the cloud services that have the performance, security, privacy and other capabilities they expect and deserve.

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