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Microsoft slams Google’s claims about government applications

Government certification called into question
Tue Apr 12 2011, 13:31

IRONY PROOF Microsoft has called out Google for alleged anti-competitive practices and accused it of behaving underhandedly in seeking lucrative US government contracts.

Microsoft's legal team has just got its hands on some recently unsealed court documents that said Google's applications were not considered secure enough for use in government, which it said was at odds with its claims..

At issue is whether Google Applications have Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) certification, considering that the firm had sued the government after the Department of the Interior (DOI) selected Microsoft offerings for a cloud-based email system.

Only after the court papers were unsealed and an earlier finding from the Department of Justice was revealed did Microsoft learn that the certification claims and the lawsuit were apparently nonsense, in its view.

"Last Friday afternoon, I learned that a batch of court documents had been unsealed and had revealed one particularly striking development: the United States Department of Justice had rejected Google's claim that Google Apps for Government, Google's cloud-based suite for government customers, has been certified...", Microsoft deputy general counsel David Howard said in a blog post.

"Given the number of times that Google has touted this claim, this was no small development... It's time for Google to stop telling governments something that is not true."

Google has already responded to the claims and in a statement told The INQUIRER, "This case is about the Department of Interior limiting its proposal to one product that isn't even FISMA certified, so this question is unrelated to our request that DOI allow for a true competition when selecting its technology providers.

"Even so, we did not mislead the court or our customers. Google Apps received a FISMA security authorisation from the General Services Administration in July 2010. Google Apps for Government is the same system with enhanced security controls that go beyond FISMA requirements. As planned we're working with GSA to continuously update our documentation with these and other additional enhancements."

However, Howard had already expected this response, and asked why then did it put both versions for certification.

"Google can't be under the misimpression that FISMA certification for Google Apps Premier also covers Google Apps for Government," he said. "If that were the case, then why did Google, according to the attachments in the DOJ brief, decide to file a separate FISMA application for Google Apps for Government?" µ


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