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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 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 :)


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