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Google's filing  (Source: Scribd)
Refusal to consider competitors other than Microsoft partners violates the law, Google argues

Last time a software company this big went to war with the United States government, it was Microsoft Corporation on the receiving end of antitrust accusations.  This time around it is the U.S. government on the defense, as the world's largest internet firm, Google Inc. accuses the U.S. federal Department of the Interior of collusion with Microsoft to illegally hand it email contracts without reviewing competitors products, including Google.

Onix Networking Corp., an enterprise reseller of Gmail and Google's other internet software services is listed as a co-plaintiff in the suit.  Microsoft is not formally listed as a defendant.

The DOI last year went looking for a web-documents service.  However, it decided early along to only consider software offerings that were part of Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite, essentially excluding Google and other third parties.  Google called that decision "arbitrary and capricious".

It began by writing the DOI a complaint letter in the spring, in which it asserted:
We believe these Microsoft-based requirements would violate the Competition in Contracting Act because they bear no rational relationship to the DOI's needs, are not written to enhance competition or innovation, and unduly restrict competition.
Google claims the DOI representatives responded with "assurances to Google representatives that DOI would conduct a full and open competition for its messaging requirements."  But no such investigation appears to ever have occurred.

Some observers are surprised by Google's decision to pursue legal action against the U.S. government.  The internet company is thought to be among the highest profile highest antitrust targets in America's tech industry.  The suit strikes some observers as a surprising role reversal.

Google claims claims that its under antitrust suspicions are fallacious and insists that it's still a "small" company compared to other giants like Microsoft.

Microsoft has been feeling the heat from Google and other "free" or ad-driven software makers.  The company recently ran an aggressive campaign attacking Sun Microsystem's free Open Office 3 suite, which some are viewing as a competitor to Microsoft's lucrative Office suite.


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RE: Hmmm....
By Luticus on 11/2/2010 12:10:16 PM , Rating: 5
then what exactly does this line mean?:
quote:
so that it would be next to impossible (and super expensive) to ever break out of it.

MS supports and uses all of those standards you've listed. unless you're using exchange you're not doing anything proprietary. MS exchange is by far the best solution though. if google doesn't have a good competitor to exchange (and they don't that i'm aware of) then what's the problem?


RE: Hmmm....
By MeesterNid on 11/2/2010 12:22:05 PM , Rating: 1
Dude, which part of request requiring the use of Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite are you not understanding here? Is Microsoft not spelled correctly or is it a new standard with their name in it that may be I'm just not aware of!?

Google is calling BS on the government basically naming Microsoft as a vendor for this solution without any possibility for competition.

Sheesh!


RE: Hmmm....
By Luticus on 11/2/2010 12:43:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Google is calling BS on the government basically naming Microsoft as a vendor for this solution without any possibility for competition.
Yea, i get this... i read the article. So if all you're saying is this then what, if anything, is your point. I understand the government is probably in the wrong here (it's for the court to decide) but in your prior posts you made it sound like Microsoft had done something wrong and nowhere is it mentioned that they had. I guess i just don't understand what it is you're trying to accomplish with your posts.


RE: Hmmm....
By Fritzr on 11/3/2010 7:49:01 PM , Rating: 1
The government took the action. Microsoft would be the beneficiary due to the continued usage of proprietary standards. Some of those standards that would be adopted as part of the "Microsoft required" clause are not licensed for use by companies other than Microsoft.

The result of this vendor specific requirement is vendor lockin as the cost of porting to a different vendor is skyhigh when the cost of modifying procedures that require vendor specific features and proprietary "standards" is added to the cost of the contract.

So regardless of who requires Microsoft applications, Microsoft is the only vendor who can legally provide Microsoft applications without a Microsoft issued license. Result: Lockin of Microsoft for government applications that will interact using Microsoft proprietary "standards".

All Microsoft has to do is find the contract "acceptable" and they improve their locked in vendor status with the government :)


RE: Hmmm....
By tastyratz on 11/3/2010 8:49:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The DOI last year went looking for a web-documents service

Google doesn't need to have a competitor to exchange if you read the article. This is around a web document service, not a client based email provider - 2 very distinct things. If we are talking email (and we are not its overall document services) then that would level the playing field with exchange because of ms outlook web access as part of exchange (vs gmail etc.)

The DOI made up its mind beforehand and did not consider alternative solutions... but how is the government different from corporations? If MS entered an agreement with them then it would be antitrust, but they decided to choose ms even before going to bid.

Are we going to start suing ALL big business deciding to not window shop and picks a competitor to Google?


RE: Hmmm....
By Luticus on 11/3/2010 5:08:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Google doesn't need to have a competitor to exchange if you read the article. This is around a web document service, not a client based email provider - 2 very distinct things. If we are talking email (and we are not its overall document services) then that would level the playing field with exchange because of ms outlook web access as part of exchange (vs gmail etc.)

Agreed, exchange was only brought up as an example for my post. The prior poster stated that microsoft used proprietary software to rope companies into staying with them forever. I said that ms supports all protocols (pop, smtp, imap, etc.) unless you're talking about exchange.

quote:

The DOI made up its mind beforehand and did not consider alternative solutions... but how is the government different from corporations? If MS entered an agreement with them then it would be antitrust, but they decided to choose ms even before going to bid.

Also agreed, the government is probably in the wrong because they typically do things by contract and there are very specific rules and regulations in the contracting world.

quote:
Are we going to start suing ALL big business deciding to not window shop and picks a competitor to Google?
while i agree with your intended thought here, the government is not just any company and they are held to a different standard because they are playing with tax payer money (to include google's tax dollars)


RE: Hmmm....
By Fritzr on 11/3/2010 7:57:17 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft supports MOST of the open standards, not all. Their default document standards are NOT open standards. They did make an effort to have a "Standard" approved that would have covered most of their proprietary standards, but not even Microsoft could document the standard that Microsoft was submitting.

By forcing government agencies to use Microsoft products at every step, there is no need to use industry standard formats. The default Microsoft only document types work just fine with Microsoft products. That was probably a consideration in requiring Microsoft compatibility...no need to convert Microsoft standard format docs to industry standard format docs.


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