Microsoft Q&A: Office 2010 War with Google Has Three Fronts

Microsoft launched enterprise versions of Office and SharePoint 2010 last week, escalating its battle with Google. Microsoft VP Chris Capossela says the most powerful weapon will be a seamless Office experience across the PC, phone and browser — but the browser talk is still just talk.

Mon, May 17, 2010

CIO — In its current battle to maintain Office's hold on the enterprise, Microsoft (MSFT) is pushing more modern social networking tools and cloud-based apps to enterprise users, while trying to curb the rising tide of Web productivity apps from Google (GOOG), Zoho and OpenOffice.

With the wide consumer release of Office 2010 and its accompanying Web Apps due on June 15 [Office Web Apps are available for businesses as of May 12], Microsoft is following through on its promise to bring a richer Office experience to the PC, phone and browser.

At the Office 2010 business launch event last week at NBC Studios in New York City, Senior VP of Microsoft's Business Division Chris Capossela sat down with's Shane O'Neill to discuss Google Apps, the increasing consumerization of IT, and how Microsoft will use Office and SharePoint 2010 to give enterprises the cloud on their terms.

Here is an edited version of the interview.

What are the big problems that Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 will solve for enterprise CIOs and their users?

CIOs want to give users social networking tools and Web apps and bigger mailboxes, but they want to do it in a secure and compliant way.

So we've done a lot of work in Office 2010, with Exchange and SharePoint as core parts of the solution, to give users modern productivity tools: social networking with adult supervision, as some people call it. We're also giving them the ability to work anywhere on any PC connected to the Internet with a browser with Office Web Apps.

Chris Capossela
"The best way for Office 2010 to beat all our competition is to build a productivity experience spanning the PC, phone and browser. Take any of our competitors and they don't provide at least one of those experiences."
Chris Capossela, Senior VP of Microsoft's Business Division

Outlook Social Connector is a big employee boost too. In Outlook, when I'm looking at an e-mail from you I can see all the things we have in common and all the e-mails and attachments you've sent me. Also a plus is the ability to use SharePoint as a social network inside the firewall, so you're not letting employees share company information or documents on Facebook. That's a no-brainer.

All this fits into the larger theme of the consumerization of IT. Employees want to have tools at work that are as good the tools at home.

You or I can go buy a Windows 7 machine for $600, pick up a copy of Office with it, sign up for Windows Live and we've got 25GB of mail through hotmail; we've got 25GB of storage through Skydrive; we've got Windows Messenger to do IM. And then we go to work and we've got 50MB of mail that our IT person has given us! This tiny little mailbox. It's crazy. So employees are starting to expect and demand that CIOs and IT give them modern tools and Office 2010 delivers on that need.

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