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GSA picks Google Apps; Microsoft retorts

google-apps-sphere-of-appsThe U.S. General Services Administration has announced that it will move from IBM Lotus Notes to Google Apps for its 17,000 employees and contractors.  The move to the cloud will cut the agency’s email spending by 50 percent over the next five years. Though several states and cities have moved into the cloud, the GSA is the first federal agency to make the leap.

“Cloud computing has a demonstrated track record of cost savings and efficiencies,” said Casey Coleman, GSA Chief Information Officer. “With this award, GSA employees will have a modern, robust email and collaboration platform that better supports our mission and our mobile work force, and costs half as much.”

A GSA selected contractor, Unisys, will help the agency’s 17 locations transition to Google Apps through 2011.

Microsoft, a poor loser?

On its blog, Google touted the hard-fought victory, claiming that the move to the cloud will help the GSA keep up with technological advances in the years ahead. Microsoft, however, was not happy about losing out to Google. The software company has been aggressively fighting to win contracts for its own cloud-based suite of services, even winning lucrative contracts with the State of California and New York City in recent months.

In a particularly candid blog response to the GSA loss,  Tom Rizzo, senior director of Microsoft Online Services blasted Google and its services in every conceivable way.

“There’s no doubt that businesses are talking to Google, and hearing their pitch, but despite all the talk, Google can’t avoid the fact that often times they cannot meet basic requirements,” said Rizzo. “For instance, in California, the state determined that Google couldn’t meet many of their basic requirements around functionality and security. Rather than address deficiencies in their product by developing a more robust set of productivity tools, Google cried foul instead of addressing these basic needs.”

Rizzo continued: “Constraints such as inadequate product support, failure to provide a roadmap, poor interoperability with other line of business applications and limited functionality are all reasons why public sector organizations such the State of Minnesota and New York City have said ‘no thanks‘ to what Google is offering.”

The bolding is straight fromRizzo’s blog post. Several other somewhat insulting passages are bolded as well. Is it wise for Microsoft to come out and attack Google like this? The post rings of a bit of desperation, which is odd considering Microsoft seems to be winning a majority of contracts lately. Perhaps Rizzo is still mad about Google Cloud Connect. In any case, it might serve Microsoft to do less trash talking and spend its time winning the next big federal contract.