On December 8 Microsoft announced that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) would move 120,000 users to Microsoft Online Services’ Business Productivity Online Suite, and more specifically BPOS-F, the dedicated infrastructure available to US federal government clients which recently received the authorization to operate (ATO) according to the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) requirements.
The USDA will start in four weeks the migration to BPOS-F in an estimated four weeks from 21 different messaging and collaboration systems.
This deal sounds like a response to the recent win by Google of about 17,000 users at the General Services Administration just last week and witnesses the intense competition between Google and Microsoft for government business. Google was able to obtain the FISMA ATO earlier than Microsoft for its Google Apps for Government, but that competitive advantage did not last for long.
We will cover this announcement in an official Gartner First Take in the coming days, as we did for the GSA announcement.