The federal government's cloud services portal, which spent more than a year in development and saw limited use since its launch in 2009, will soon go offline. Developed by former federal CIO Vivek Kundra, Apps.gov was intended to provide an efficient, cost-saving solution for government agencies looking to buy software as a service. According to Information Week, the General Services Administration notified cloud service providers including Microsoft, Amazon, Dell and AT&T, via a Nov. 29 email, that the website would soon go offline.

"Apps.gov was a great concept that suffered from poor execution," Michael Biddick, CEO of Fusion PPT told Information Week. "Instead of a true service catalog, Apps.gov devolved into a mashup of disparate and sometimes random services that never received high adoption levels." 

Around the time the clearinghouse website was first announced, Government Technology reported that state and local government officials are reluctant to purchase from GSA schedules because prices are often higher than what they could obtain through direct vendor negotiation. The GSA did not explain why Apps.gov will be decommissioned, but low adoption rates due to the pricing issue is one likely reason.

"A storefront is a critical element of the cloud broker, but GSA seems to be heading down the path of injecting a system integrator in a business role that will only add costs and remove many of the benefits driving the adoption of cloud computing," Biddick said.