A judge has sided with Google and issued a preliminary injunction ordering the U.S. Department of the Interior to abandon procurement efforts for a Microsoft-only cloud computing contract.
Judge Susan Braden of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims wrote, in an order made public late Tuesday, that a July determination by an assistant secretary naming Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite-Federal (BPOS) as the agency's standard for messaging and collaboration did not include "proper justification or appropriate approvals."
The agency's determination that BPOS was its standard included "no estimate of internal agency cost" of other options, Braden wrote. The determination also failed to list any potential alternatives, including Google's attempts to sell the agency on its products, she wrote. The agency declined to change its bidding process after Google showed it alternatives to Microsoft, the judge wrote
"The failure to list Google's repeated express interest in this procurement cannot be explained as an oversight," she added.
Google and Ohio-based reseller Onix Networking filed a lawsuit against the agency in October. The Department of Interior contract, for up to US$59.3 million over five years, tells bidders they must deploy BPOS to deliver cloud-based e-mail and messaging services.
Google applauded the decision. "As a proponent of open competition on the Internet and in the technology sector in general, we're pleased with the court's decision," the company said in a statement.
Representatives of the Department of Interior and Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comments on the ruling.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is email@example.com.