Google has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior for requiring that messaging technologies must be part of the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite in order to be considered for procurement. The well-respected blog TechDirt reported first on the suit and says it “seems like they’ve got a decent argument there.”

The Department of Interior justified its preference for Microsoft in part because of the company’s “enhanced security,” but it was Google’s first version of Google Apps for Government that became this summer the first cloud solution to win the Federal government’s Federal Information Security Management Act certification.

Likewise, Google Apps were good enough for now-U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra when he was the CTO for the District of Columbia in 2008 and switched the government there to Google.

“It’s certainly going to be interesting to see if a comparison of ‘enhanced security’ and ‘unified email’ from Google and Microsoft makes it way into the court systems,” says Alex Howard, Government 2.0 Washington Correspondent at O’Reilly Media. “I can’t think of the last time I saw that depth of discussion about the relative capabilities of cloud applications in the court.”

The U.S. Department of the Interior, meanwhile, has long had security problems of its own. Its highest leaders have been ruled in contempt of federal court multiple times for failing to account for and reconcile hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Native American land trust documents, most recently in 2001.

marshall kirkpatrick