The ongoing battle between Google (GOOG) Apps and Microsoft (MSFT) Office 365 for the online productivity suite market has welcomed a new customer into the mix: the U.S. Army.
The U.S. Army is partnering with both Google and Microsoft for online productivity suites.
According to a Microsoft blog post this week, the U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO-EIS) has awarded a blanket purchase agreement (BPA) of 50,000 Microsoft Office 365 seats to Microsoft and Dell for Cloud Services. The BPA makes seats available to any Department of Defense (DoD) agency, service or partner.
Curt Kolcun, vice president of Microsoft’s U.S. public sector, noted in his blog post that this agreement provides "Microsoft the ability to work with civilian agencies and federal entities at all levels to provide commercial cloud services, opening up new mobile opportunities."
But the Army apparently didn't want to pick sides, so it also brought Google into the mix, agreeing to purchase 50,000 of Google Apps for Business.
A Google spokesperson said that the company "looks forward to working closely with the U.S. Army on this project."
"The agreements are first steps toward meeting the DOD Cloud Computing Strategy goal of using commercial cloud services," an Army PEO-EIS spokesperson told Talkin' Cloud.
The spokesperson said that these agreements are part of the overall Army and DOD strategy that "embraces cloud computing and cloud services," enabling them to become "more efficient and agile."
The specific deployment timeline is unknown because there will be additional testing and accreditation before ordering begins, the spokesperson said.