GSA picks Google over Microsoft for major cloud contract

Google has won a major multi-million dollar cloud computing deal with the General Services Administration (GSA) in the US, much to the fury of Microsoft, which was also after the contract. 

The deal will see the search company providing its cloud-based services, such as Google Apps, to the GSA’s 15,000 employees, which could save the GSA as much as 50 percent of its operating costs over the next five years.

The contract is worth $6.7 million, which will be paid over a five-year period.

Google partnered with Unisys in order to secure the deal, which means that Unisys will help oversee the transition of the GSA’s operations to the cloud.

Microsoft offers similar cloud services and was keen to ink a deal with the GSA, so it was not impressed with the news that Google had beaten it to the finish line. It said it was “disappointed” that the GSA chose Google over it. In fact, it was so annoyed that it decided to publicly attack Google’s cloud record.

“There’s no doubt that businesses are talking to Google, and hearing their pitch, but despite all the talk, Google can’t avoid the fact that often times they cannot meet basic requirements,” said Tom Rizzo, Senior Director of Microsoft Online Services, in a blog post.

“You have to meet the height requirement to ride in the enterprise,” he added, suggesting that Google is still a child in the business sector.

He criticised Google for its failure to deliver appropriate functionality and security, its addition of “random functionality”, which he believes does not really add functionality at all, and said that several US states have said “no thanks” to Google after they looked at what it had to offer.

While Microsoft may have some valid points, it’s difficult not to see the tone of Rizzo’s post as that of a sore loser. It’s likely that the post was an attempt to prevent more companies from hiring Google over Microsoft, which remains to be seen – what is certain is that both firms are set to become bitter rivals in the cloud market for some time to come.