Google on Thursday downplayed a report that the city of Los Angeles is considering legal action against it due to delays in implementing a much touted $7.2 million contract to replace Novell GroupWise applications with the Google Apps for Government hosted email and office applications platform.
A Google spokesman acknowledged that it's taken longer than planned to roll out the hosted applications to the Los Angeles Police (LAPD) and three other city departments. However, he added that the problems have been caused by delays in meeting security requirements that were not part of the original contract, and were added only after the project was well underway.
"It's taking longer than expected to move public safety officials to Google Apps because their law enforcement responsibilities entail unique requirements," many of which were designed for non-cloud environments, said Google spokesman Andrew Kovacs.
Google and its implementation partner CSC are currently working on deploying those requirements, Kovacs said.
He declined to say when Google expects work to be completed. A CSC spokesman contended that all other deadlines set in the Google Apps contract have been met.
The Los Angeles Times first reported yesterday that Los Angeles city officials could be mulling whether to file a lawsuit against Google and CSC due to project delays.
According to the report, the city's budget committee met earlier this week with attorneys in a closed door session to discuss the status of the Google Enterprise Email & Collaboration System project with CSC and Google. The paper said the the meeting "raised the possibility" that city officials may be considering legal action.
City officials could not be reached for comment on the report.
The Times noted that City Controller Wendy Greuel had separately asked LA's technology department to explain the circumstances of the delay. It also quoted City Councilman Bernard Parks as expressing frustration, saying that Google and CSC had been given "more than enough time" to finish the project.
The latest concerns come just four months after Los Angeles CTO Randi Levin sent a strongly worded Notice of Deficiencies to CSC raising concerns about Google and CSC's failure to implement some security requirements mandated by the city's police department and the FBI. Levin also cited city concerns that Google and CSC failed to integrate the city's existing electronic subpoena system with the new hosted Google environment.
A copy of the notice was obtained and published earlier this week by Consumer Watchdog, a group that has been carrying on a running feud with Google over privacy and security issues.
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