Last year, the Department of the Interior selected Microsoft’s service for their cloud-based email system. Google advocated open competition and sued the Government for not considering their Google Apps for the Government service.
Google used the FISMA certification as one of the factors when pushing their Google Apps for Government service, though it has recently come to light that Google Apps for Government does not have FISMA certification. It has only applied for it. On the other hand, another service from Google, namely Google Apps Primer has FISMA certification and this has led to a lot of confusion.
The DOJ has seen through this and says,
On December 16, 2010, counsel for the Government learned that, notwithstanding Google’s representations to the public at large, its counsel, the GAO and this Court, it appears that Google’s Google Apps for Government does not have FISMA certification.
David Howard, the Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel writes in his Technet blogs report,
I’ll be the first to grant that FISMA certification amounts to something. The Act creates a process for federal agencies to accredit and certify the security of information management systems like e-mail, so FISMA-certification suggests that a particular solution has proven that it has met an adequate level of security for a specific need.
While Microsoft accuses Google of misleading information in their services, Google accuses the Government of unfair competition and gets a lot of bad press from both ends.