In yet another sign of increasing cloud provider competition over the public sector, Microsoft filed a complaint against the State of Iowa last Thursday, alleging that the awards process for a cloud computing contract was unfair.
Microsoft was denied a bid for a contract to provide cloud-based email and office productivity software to the Iowa Department of Administrative Services (DAS) because the company did not meet an experience requirement. Microsoft’s lawsuit claims that “Microsoft has that experience and is, in fact, one of the most experienced public sector cloud vendors in the United States.”
Microsoft offers government-specifics versions of their cloud platform Azure and their cloud-based email and office collaboration solution Office365. The latter counts the City of Chicago, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the government of the US Virgin Islands amongst its customers.
The Iowa DAS awarded the $7 million contract to Denver, CO firm Tempus Nova and their bidding partner Google (who will provide the cloud computing services).
Microsoft appealed the bid award in September of 2014, but the appeal was judged in favor of the State of Iowa in September of that year.
In the suit, Microsoft claims that Iowa’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) testified that those bidding for the contract would be treated “fairly and equally,” but obviously, Microsoft does not believe that was the case.
Microsoft Claims that the DAS waived core contract requirements in favor of Tempus Nova, including a required compatibility with Microsoft products. Microsoft also contends that Tempus Nova does not comply with Iowa’s Open Records Law because the service allegedly does not have the ability to retain data.
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