BREAKING NEWS: Google and Onix File Suit Against The United States of America

BREAKING NEWS: Google and Onix File Suit Against The United States of America

We’re rolling out a new feature on eLLblog today, Google Watch, which will be tracking the latest developments in the lawsuit Google v. The United States.

October 29, 2010 – In Google v. The United States, filed today by Google in the U.S. Court of Claims, the Department of Interior (DOI) sought a cloud service provider to outfit the agency with a single hosted email and collaboration services system in an effort to centralize its messaging services, which currently includes thirteen separate email platforms.  Google believed that it could present a competitive offer with its Google Apps product, which it claims is the first suite of cloud-computing applications to receive Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) certification and accreditation.

But according to the Complaint, despite repeated efforts at conveying their interest and the abilities of their cloud-product, the DOI focused on moving forward with a new Microsoft cloud-service, Business Productivity Online Suite-Federal (BPOS).  Google’s lawsuit claims that the Microsoft BPOS product is new and untested, as it has not been certified to meet FISMA standards.  Google also asserts that the DOI’s insistence on a “private cloud” for the Department, i.e., their demand that the cloud’s data storage and computing infrastructure be dedicated solely to the Federal government, is not necessary to satisfy the Department’s needs.

Believing that the seemingly pre-determined decision to move forward with Microsoft’s BPOS was in violation of federal law, Google now seeks to prevent the DOI from continuing to proceed with its placement process with Microsoft, and seeks a court order requiring the DOI to hold an open and competitive bid process.  With the market for cloud-based solutions on the rise, this is sure to be just one of many “cloud wars.

Click here to download the Google v. U.S. Dept of Interior Complaint, and check back with eLessons Learned for timely coverage of this novel lawsuit.

If you’d like to learn more about U.S. cases that have had direct, substantive implications for cloud users, including cases that have dealt with personal jurisdiction, privacy rights, e-discovery, and copyright infringement, see “Avoid the Rainy Day: Survey of U.S. Cloud Computing Caselaw,” Fernando M. Pinguelo and Brad Muller, Boston College Law School Intellectual Property & Technology Forum and Journal, November 5, 2010

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