Google Wins One Battle, Microsoft Wins Another, But The War Continues

Google Wins One Battle, Microsoft Wins Another, But The War Continues…

On an article published more than a year ago on January 7, 2011, I had written “Microsoft and Google have never been the best of friends, and this mutual dislike has extended to their ventures in the cloud computing space as well. Both these technology behemoths fully realize the immense potential of cloud computing and have been intensely competitive in trying to get one up on the other…..” The article dealt with Google’s lawsuit challenging the US Department of Interior’s adoption of Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite, later renamed as Microsoft 365 (See: Google Wins Court Ruling Against Microsoft In Cloud Computing Contract).  Now, to add insult to Microsoft’s injury, Google ended up winning the same contract it challenged.

In early May, the Department of Interior had awarded Onix Networking, a Google Apps reseller and party to the aforementioned lawsuit, a seven-year contract worth almost $35 million. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar went on record  praising the merits of this move, “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.”

Microsoft, left licking its wounds, responded diplomatically. “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,” it said in a statement.

However, it struck back soon enough. Earlier this month, the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced its choice of Microsoft 365 to meet its email and web conferencing requirements. The contract, worth around $91 million over a one-year base period and six option years, was awarded to Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC).

Understandably, Microsoft made its pleasure known. “The FAA’s mission is essential to how our nation functions, and the agency’s decision to implement Office 365 validates our approach to enterprise security, privacy and compliance in the cloud. Microsoft has supported government agencies such as the FAA for nearly 30 years, and as a committed partner we’ll continue to innovate in ways that help our public-sector customers improve efficiency and reduce operating costs while delivering better citizen services,” said Curt Kolcun, vice president of US Public Sector at Microsoft.

Almost every business hankers for government business, and those in cloud computing are no different. Besides the obvious large contract values, getting government approval is synonymous to convincing doubtful bureaucrats of the efficacy and efficiency of their services, something with immense commercial implications in an emerging and dynamic field of cloud computing. In other words, the value of government endorsement goes beyond immediate top line impact (See: Can the US Government “Lead by Example” in Cloud Computing Adoption?).

By Sourya Biswas

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