On January 5, the U.S. Federal Claims Court temporarily blocked Microsoft from proceeding with the $49.3 million, five-year DOI contract. In its complaint, Google said the bid request put out by Interior "specified that only the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite-Federal could be proposed," making it impossible for the company to compete for the work.
Google, based in Mountain View, California, and Onix Networking Corp., a licensed Google seller, sued the Interior Department in October, claiming the department didn't provide a "full and open" competition for the contract.
"Without a preliminary injunction, the award will put into motion the final migration of Interior's e-mail system, achieve "organizational lock-in" for Microsoft, and cost Google the opportunity to compete," the judge wrote in a 27-page decision.
"As a proponent of open competition on the Internet and in the technology sector in general, we're pleased with the court's decision," Google said in an e-mailed statement.
Jack Evans, a spokesman for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the decision.