Microsoft, Not Google, Secures EPA Deal

    September 14, 2007

We’ve all seen Google grow increasingly close to the U.S. government, but in this case, it’s Microsoft that narrowed the gap.  The prize, as such, is a contract with the Environmental Protection Agency involving the use of Virtual Earth.

Google’s mapping products might have been a more popular choice; we certainly seem to hear more about them on a day-to-day basis.  The EPA’s decision is an even greater win for Microsoft, however, given that background.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the EPA to deliver the agency’s common operational mapping platform through a combination of Software plus Services,” said Curt Kolcun, vice president of the Microsoft’s Federal Division.  The word “thrilled” shows up surprisingly often in press releases, but that’s still an interesting statement.

And so we (and/or the appropriate government agencies) should see Virtual Earth used in conjunction with “topics ranging from superfund sites and oil spills to waterways and the quality of beach water.”  No dates of implementation have been made public, but, in an interview with Bloomberg’s Melita Marie Garza, a technology manager for the EPA said something interesting.

“We wanted to get our feet wet with the technology, without spending a fortune,” acknowledged Pat Garvey.  “The Google offering didn’t seem to be as sharp, and Microsoft offered us unlimited use for one year.”