Monday, November 01, 2010

Is This The Right Way to Court A Customer? Sue them?

Google is suing the US government for not buying Google Apps. Hmmm. I just read this on TechMeme..so check it out for yourself...
Google Sues The US Government For Only Considering Microsoft Solutions

Eric Goldman alerts us to the interesting bit of news that Google has sued the US government -- specifically the Department of the Interior, for not seriously considering Google Apps when it put out a Request for Quotation (RFQ) to handle its messaging needs. Specifically, the DOI stated upfront in the RFQ that the solution had to be part of the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite. Google is making the argument that this is "unduly restrictive of competition," and it seems like they've got a decent argument there.

Most of the lawsuit details the history of meetings and conversations between Google and the DOI, where Google sought to convince the DOI that its solution was acceptable. The DOI justified limiting its offerings to Microsoft, by saying that Microsoft had two things that other solution providers did not: unified/consolidated email and "enhanced security." Google disputes this (not surprisingly) and notes various problems with Microsoft solutions -- including well reported downtime issues. Google protested the RFQ when it was released, but the GAO dismissed Google's protest saying that since Google does not have a GSA schedule contract (i.e., what you need to sell to the gov't), it was "not an interested party." Anyway, should make for an interesting lawsuit if it goes anywhere...
Wait? What? Google isn't on the GSA schedule? Kind of a oversight, don't you think?

(Full disclosure: Microsoft is a client at my employer, Strategic Communications Group.)
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