Yesterday, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced that it's adopting Google Apps and moving to the cloud. The government agency will move its employees and contractors to Google's
By itself, the GSA contract is small potatoes, both for the winner, Google, and the loser, Microsoft
Despite the small dollar value, the GSA contract is a meaningful sign of things to come for a few reasons. First, the GSA is the only federal government agency to opt for a complete -- all 17 offices and 17,000 employees and contractors -- adoption of Google Apps and a cloud-based solution to date. Its seal of approval makes it more likely that other government entities will follow suit, and a 50% cost savings will be hard to ignore in the current budgetary climate, even if the absolute dollars in question are small.
Second, like it or not, as the government adopts cloud-based productivity solutions, it lends credibility to them. If a private sector IT manager is evaluating similar solutions and is concerned about the security of the cloud, seeing U.S. government agencies choose such a solution makes it seem less risky.
Finally, small losses like this one add up over time, taking a toll on Microsoft. Today, Google Apps is not a material contributor to the company's bottom line, even with 3 million businesses using it, and it's possible it never will be. But don't assume that Google's small gain equals a small pain for Microsoft -- Microsoft's pain will likely be disproportionately large relative to Google's gain.
More Cloud-Computing Foolishness: