Google sues the United States of America

Apple Online Store“Google has sued the US Department of the Interior because its Request for Quotation regarding a messaging solution demanded the use of Microsoft software,” Thom Holwerda reports for OS News.

“Obviously, didn’t sit well with Google, and I’m sure other companies putting out competing software aren’t happy about it either (does Red Hat serve this market?). Google is seeking permanent injunctions against the Department of the Interior moving forward with this specific Request for Quotation until the DOI allows decent competition for the RfQ,” Holwerda reports.

Read more in the full article here.

39 Comments

  1. Well at least they’ll be setting precedent for someone to kick their software to the curb 10 years from now when they’re in the dominant position and the new kid on the block is the up and comer.

  2. Typical inside track RFQ. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone from MS wrote the RFQ. If not, the person who wrote it cut and pasted from MS tech data. They wanted a specific product (from MS), but they have to bid it out, so they make sure to word the RFQ so that they get what they want. This happens all the time, and sometimes it’s actually beneficial, sometimes. Unfortunately (for them), they were way too overt in their language, so they’re getting busted for it. Now it will get sent through the legal sawmills, new regulations will be written regarding how RFQs get written, and they will generate a new RFQ that is worded differently, but says essentially the same thing.

    The only possible beneficial outcome to this extreme waste of money is that MS will have to lose some government projects to give at least some appearance of open and fair competition. This means that some alternatives will be able to get their foot in the door. Hopefully, those alternatives will have the technology and support (and the patience) that it takes to survive in the bureaucratic swamp that is government contracting. If not, the contract will get dumped after two years, and MS will move back in. One step forward, two steps back.

  3. The government has to consider at least three sources in a bid, but only the primes count, not the subcontractors. Microsoft has a partner program, and acts as a subcontractor to its partners. If there are three bidders, and Microsoft is a sub to all three, it wins no matter what. Also, the cost of Microsoft’s services get evaluated as part of the prime contractor’s costs, which means that Microsoft doesn’t have to make any pricing concessions.

    Microsoft has found a way to obey the letter of the procurement regulations but skirt their intent.

    A long time ago, I was bidding on a contract with a federal agency and found this sort of situation. I just wrote a letter to the contracting officer’ explaining how the bid was wired, and he made them completely rewrite the specifications. Specifications have to be prescriptive, not descriptive. The results weren’t what I wanted, but they were fair, and with some modifications to the product and aggressive pricing, I won the bid.

    Google’s situation is a little more difficult, because the procurement regulations don’t anticipate a monopolist disguising himself as a subcontractor. Google does have a strong case anyway, because the RFQ goes against the government’s interest as the government defines it.

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