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Google Gets GSA Contract

Google Gets GSA Contract - Google Inc.'s online software won a key endorsement from the federal government Wednesday, as the General Services Administration said it will use the company's Gmail, word processing and other applications for the agency's more than 15,000 employees.

The GSA selected Google's offerings, called Google Apps, over technology from rival Microsoft Corp., whose Outlook email and other Office applications are used in most government offices and businesses.

The two technology giants already compete to win contracts from companies as well as state and local governments, which hope to cut costs by switching to Web-based software from programs installed on their own computers. The GSA move gives Google's applications a beachhead in the federal government.

It also affirms the broader concept of Web-based software, sometimes known as cloud computing. The GSA described its effort as the first agency-wide use of cloud-based email in the federal government. Cloud-based systems store email, documents and other items on distant server computers instead of personal computers at the user's desk.
The bidding was closely watched because the GSA—-which oversees government procurement and manages federal property—often helps shape how other agencies acquire new technology.
"Other agencies will look closely at what GSA has done," said David Mihalchik, a Google business development manager. He declined to name other government groups Google has approached about using Google Apps.

Google recently said it ran into roadblocks when it bid for a contract to supply Google Apps to the Department of Interior. In November, Google sued the agency, alleging that it favored Microsoft in setting criteria for bids to provide a new Web-based email system for its 88,000 staffers. The suit is pending.

Google Gets GSA Contract

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