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Google Sues U.S. Department of Interior

Friday Google filed a complaint against the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), claiming that the DOI didn't consider Google Apps in its recent Request for Quotation (RFQ).

The government is currently looking for a new secure solution that provides e-mail, calendaring and collaboration. However its RFQ only limited the acceptable options to Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite - Federal software (BPOS Federal), leaving Google Apps for Government out of the picture.

Google's lawsuit alleges that the government abused its discretion and acted in a manner that was arbitrary and capricious. The search engine giant also said that the move ran contrary to "assurances to Google representatives that DOI would conduct a full and open competition for its messaging requirements."

Google launched its Apps for Government Web-based productivity suite back in July, developed specifically to meet stringent U.S. government security requirements. The suite is certified under the Federal Information Security Management Act, deeming it officially capable of handling sensitive government information. The drawback is that the suite is not certified for classified information.

The lawsuit filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on October 29 details the history of conversations and meetings that took place between Google and the DOI. Although Google tried to convince the government that its software was fit for the job, the DOI justified its Microsoft-oriented limitation saying that BPOS Federal had unified/consolidated email and "enhanced security"-- two traits other solutions did not provide.

Additional reports indicate that Google protested the RFQ when it was originally released, however the U.S. Government Accountability Office dismissed Google's protest, saying that it didn’t have the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) schedule contract needed to sell software to the government.

The contract with the DOI is estimated to be worth $49.3 million over the next five years.