MICROSOFT HAS HIT BACK at claims that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has dumped the firm in favour of Google's cloud apps.
The move, first reported at The Register, will see 70,000 HMRC employees switching from Microsoft's productivity offering to Google's cloud-based apps services.
Microsoft has hit back in a statement sent to The INQUIRER, saying that the company remains a "significant supplier" of products to HMRC.
A Microsoft spokesperson moaned: "On Friday, some media reports left the impression that HMRC was 'ditching Microsoft for Google'.
"HMRC has confirmed that it has decided to use some Google collaboration tools, but Microsoft remains a significant supplier of products such as Office, Exchange and other software and hardware to HMRC, as we are to the UK government and wider public sector.
"We recognise and embrace the fact that customers use technologies from multiple suppliers, and will continue to offer attractive and competitive products that our public and private sector customers want to use."
Despite Microsoft trying to put a dampener on things, Google has celebrated the deal as a "huge" endorsement for Google Apps.
David Fitton, head of public sector sales at Google UK, said on LinkedIn: "The acceptance by HMRC that they can store official information offshore in Google data centres represents a major change and endorsement of Google's approach to managing sensitive information."
The move is the biggest of its kind, but shouldn't come as too much of a surprise.
The government said earlier this year that Google Apps was the productivity suite that best suited the needs of Cabinet Office and Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) employees, proving more "flexible" than Microsoft's cloud-based alternative.
Tom Read, chief technology officer at the Cabinet Office, said at the time: "Detailed user research and lab testing showed that the Google Apps productivity suite best met user needs for the Cabinet Office and DCMS.
"Other solutions [e.g. Microsoft’s Office 365 suite] also scored highly, but the advanced collaboration and flexible working features of Google Apps were the best fit for our needs."
Read was also impressed by Google's frequent security updates. "Being a pure software-as-a-service solution delivered through a browser, Google Apps is updated with new features and bug fixes regularly without any work from the IT department. This brings commoditised continual improvement to a key set of services," he said.
HMRC's move comes just weeks after the UK government revealed that it will not throw another £5.5m at Microsoft for a further year of Windows XP support. µ
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