Google asks court to dismiss lawsuit over Microsoft-only cloud contract

Says agreement in place would let it bid on $60 million deal for cloud services

Google and one of its resellers have asked a federal court to dismiss their case against the U.S. Department of the Interior over Microsoft-only bids for cloud-based services.

Last October, Google and Ohio-based reseller Onix Networking sued the government agency, which they alleged had stacked the deck against the Google Apps suite of services. According to Google and Onix, the Interior Department had demanded that bidders for a $60 million contract use rival Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite Federal (BPOS) to provide email and messaging services.

On Sept. 22, Google and Onix asked a federal claims court to dismiss the case.

"Based on the defendant's agreement to update its market research, a process that may include the issuance of a Request for Information, and then conduct a procurement ... in a manner that will not preclude plaintiffs from fairly competing, plaintiffs respectfully move for dismissal of this action without prejudice," Google and Onix stated in their motion.

A day later, government attorneys representing the Interior Department said that they would not oppose the motion, but told the court that contrary to Google's claim, no agreement had been struck.

"Plaintiffs made reference to 'defendant's agreement' ... [but] Defendant, the United States, hereby provides notice to the Court that defendant has made no agreement as represented in that motion," the government's lawyers said.

Neither Google or the Department of Justice replied to requests for comment on the discrepancy.

Last year, the Interior Department had defended its choice of BPOS, saying, "The department determined that although many companies can provide messaging services in general, they either cannot provide services that address the complexity of messaging requirements within DOI, or they could not meet the degree of security required by DOI."

In January, Judge Susan Braden of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims blocked Microsoft from deploying the BPOS service for the Department of Interior.

But two weeks ago, Braden alluded to an agreement between the parties.

"The preliminary injunction issued by the court ... will remain in effect until September 27, 2011, because the parties have represented to the court that they are working in good faith towards an alternative dispute resolution that may resolve this matter in a mutually beneficial manner," Braden wrote in an order issued on Sept. 16.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more articles by Gregg Keizer.

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