Google, Onix withdrawal protest of Interior cloud email award

Tuesday - 9/27/2011, 6:57pm EDT

Google and Onix Networking have dropped their protest of the Interior Department's contract for email-as-a-service. But it's not the end of a battle to provide cloud computing services that has lasted almost a year.

In fact, the situation becomes more intriguing as court documents are unclear about why Google and Onix dropped their lawsuit in the Court of Federal Claims.

"Based on the defendant's agreement to update its market research, a process that may include the issuance of a request for information, and then conduct a procurement subject to the availability of appropriated funds and in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation in a manner that would not preclude plaintiffs from fairly competing, plaintiffs respectfully move for dismissal of this action without prejudice," wrote the attorneys for Google and Onix in a motion filed Sept. 22.

The Justice Department lawyers a day later wrote to the court they didn't oppose the motion for withdrawal.

"However, in that motion, plaintiffs made reference to ‘defendant's agreement.' Defendant, the United States, hereby provides notice to the court that defendant has made no agreement as represented in that motion," the DoJ wrote.

Repeated requests for comments and clarifications to Google, Microsoft and Interior have not been answered.

Judge Susan Braden has not yet ruled on the Onix/Google motion to dismiss, according to the court's clerks office.

Last October, Interior chose Softchoice Corp. to provide email-as-a-service and other collaboration tools in the cloud featuring Microsoft products for its 80,000 employees.

Onix and Google protested the $59 million award alleging Interior didn't hold a fair and open competition.

Judge Braden issued a stay on the contract and said Interior violated the Competition in Contracting Act in January. Braden was expected to make a ruling soon before Google/Onix decided to ask for a dismissal of the case.

RELATED STORIES:

Google wins stay of Interior award to Microsoft for cloud

Google, Microsoft battle over Interior cloud services