The US Department of the Interior told potential suppliers of a new email system that it will only consider tenders based on Microsoft products, web giant Google has alleged in an lawsuit against the government body.
The lawsuit alleges that the Department sent ‘requests for quotation’ (RFQs) to IT service providers that specified that only offers based on Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) would be considered.
Google demands that a more competitive procurement process is introduced.
If Google’s claims are true, the Department of the Interior’s procurement process would appear to contravene a 2004 memo from the Executive Office of the President. The memo asserted that “policies and procedures covering acquisition of software to support agency operations” should be “technology and vendor neutral … to the maximum extent practicable”.
Microsoft-only procurement projects are not unheard of in the UK’s public sector, despite the fact that the EU Directive on Public Procurement asserts that “contracting authorities shall treat economic operators equally and non-discriminatorily”.