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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 bug77 on 11/2/2010 1:08:29 PM , Rating: 3
Complete interoperability is near impossible between rival companies.

That's why OpenOffice went ahead and developed a standard for document format: so that anyone may read and write them.
Interoperability is not impossible, it's just that it's not in a company's best interest to offer the customer the option to switch, that's all.

RE: Hmmm....
By Luticus on 11/2/2010 2:09:27 PM , Rating: 2
you are correct in this. interoperability is not impossible, just near impossible. when one company finds a better way of doing things they tend to patent that so that other companies can't use it. thus putting up a huge road block to interoperability. This is one great thing about open source and the gpl, it tends to ensure technology is available to all as long as they don't use it for profit. open source also puts up road blocks though because then people who actually want to make money on their work tend to steer clear of it. So all these great and talented devs go to places like Microsoft and Apple where they make tons of money but their code becomes proprietary. Catch-22s are fun!

RE: Hmmm....
By bug77 on 11/2/2010 4:21:23 PM , Rating: 3
Still, you open-source basic stuff and keep more intricate code proprietary. The possibility to get the best of both worlds is right there, but who will pursue it when there's so much money to be made from patenting the dumbest idea and vendor lock-in?

I mean, go tell a kid that there's a way all kinds of computers can talk to each other, talk to phones and home cinema systems, but there's no way you can edit a document without MS Office. The kid will laugh in your face, that's how crazy the situation really is.

RE: Hmmm....
By sviola on 11/3/2010 10:56:10 AM , Rating: 2
That's why OpenOffice went ahead and developed a standard for document format: so that anyone may read and write them.

But then, OpenOffice does not open all ODF files correctly...Btw, MS Office does support ODF files better than OO.o and OOXML (MS Office standard document) is an open standard as well.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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