GSA moves 17,000 from Lotus to Google

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GSA moves 17,000 from Lotus to Google

Overlooks Microsoft Federal.

The General Services Administration (GSA), the US's primary government procurement agency, has locked in a US$6.7 million agency-wide deal to shift 17,000 staff to Google's Apps for Government suite.

"With this award, GSA employees will have a modern, robust e-mail and collaboration platform that better supports our mission and our mobile work force, and costs half as much," GSA's chief information officer Casey Coleman said in a statement Thursday.

In coming months Unisys will migrate the GSA's 17,000 staff off its existing IBM Lotus Notes and Domino platform. However, the agency will retain Microsoft Office.

The five-year deal marked an important victory for Google in its government cloud war with Microsoft.

Microsoft recently launched a rival platform, Business Productivity Online Standard (BPOS)-Federal.

But while Google satisfied the GSA's security requirements during testing, it appeared unlikely to satisfy another key agency looking to move to the cloud, the Department of the Interior (DOI).

Google was at loggerheads with the DOI's technology czars who were apparently unsatisfied that Google's Government suite was unable to run apps on a physically separate network, according to a recent complaint Google filed in the Court of Federal Claims.

The DOI, Google alleged, had shown a bias towards Microsoft's Federal platform from the outset of its tender.

Google today reiterated its status as the first cloud suite provider to have received Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) certification, awarded by the GSA shortly before it began its six month testing of Google.

Microsoft, which has also secured massive government cloud deals, was disappointed with the GSA's decision.

"While we are disappointed we will not have the opportunity to meet the GSA's internal messaging needs, we will continue to serve its productivity needs through the familiar experience of Microsoft Office and we look forward to understanding more about GSA's selection criteria - especially around security and architecture," wrote Microsoft's SharePoint blogger, Tom Rizzo.

Familiarity may be Office's saviour, however Google was readying for an assault on Office with its Cloud Connect program, set to be rolled out to all Apps users sometime next year.

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