US Dept. of the Interior Buys Vapourware

The US DOI put out a tender for a messaging system that specified M$’s BPOS even though it did not have the security certification, FISMA, that Google had already obtained. Google had made its service known but was not allowed to bid on the tender because of the BPOS requirement. Google is suing the USA to force it to follow its own laws about purchasing. This should be interesting. The USA is all about free enterprise and Pres. Obama loves FLOSS. Why should Google be excluded? The USA often trots diplomats around the world to protest any exclusion of M$. Now they are excluding another one of their own.

One can argue about features until the cows come home but I would think that having FISMA certification in hand would trump M$’s vapourware. The silly thing is this. If the US DOI had followed procedure and allowed Google to bid, they could have done testing or whatever and made a rational decision on facts but now they may be forced to wait until the courts decide which could take weeks, months, years… What have they gained by their intransigence? Did they think Google would go away? Would they think M$’s salesmen would go away? This sounds like some top-down pressure being applied to steer things rather than following procedure.

I have not used BPOS and no one in government seems to either. I have used Google as have government departments and it has always been smooth for me. I used to use Hotmail years ago and it was a pain, seeming to manufacture spam. We know about M$’s vulnerabilities. How many thousands of them are there compared to Google? Isn’t that the most important thing? Even assuming the performances were the same there’s price. Should not Google have been able to name its price? Next time the USA objects to governmental procurements around the world they should be reminded of this incident.

It would be great if the USA just promptly admitted their mistake and rewrote the tender to accept all offers for evaluation. Tying things up in court does no one any good. If the court sides with US DOI & M$ then competition will be dealt a blow. If the court sides with Google it’s back to square one, a big delay, and we may get to see this matter again in court if the same top-down stuff holds its bias against Google.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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