by Shane O'Neill

On Eve of Office 365 Release, Google Airs It Out

Jun 27, 20113 mins
Cloud ComputingEnterprise ApplicationsMicrosoft Office

The cloud brawl between Google and Microsoft heated up today as Google hurled some more fightin' words about Office 365 via a company blog post.

Microsoft will launch its rebranded and revamped cloud-based office suite, Office 365, tomorrow at an event in New York City.

On the eve of such an occasion, Google took to the blogosphere with a company blog post stating its case that Google Apps is, naturally, the preferred cloud choice for businesses, schools and government agencies.

Google and Microsoft have been at each other’s throats for awhile over the cloud, particularly regarding city and state governments. The city of Los Angeles, the state of Wyoming and Orlando, Fla. are a few examples of government agencies that have chosen to migrate to Google Apps. On the other hand, the city of San Francisco, New York City and the state of Minnesota have all recently migrated to BPOS/Office 365.

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Government agencies tend to have tighter budgets than most corporations and are more willing to a cloud service for e-mail and collaboration. However, Google has also won over high-profile enterprises such as biotech giant Genentech and Virgin America Airlines, which decided to move from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps last year.

Still, judging by market share Google Apps Web-based e-mail and collaboration suite hasn’t begun to loosen Microsoft Office’s tight rein on the corporate world. But mindshare is a different story. Google has been ramping up buzz through an aggressive ad campaign and PR efforts to parade a steady stream of customers that have “gone Google”. Microsoft has aggressively argued that Google has not nearly enough experience serving the complex needs of enterprises, while Google contends that Microsoft is not a true cloud vendor.

This argument permeates the Google blog post. Shan Sinha, Google Apps Product Manager, argues that the Google Apps advantage is that its tools are designed for smooth collaboration and doesn’t rely on “additional licenses to work with others, or hope people outside your company have upgraded to the same software.”

Sinha also emphasizes that Google Apps works across devices and operating systems better the Office 365, has a simpler and more affordable price plan that “has not changed in four years”, and has more frequent, easier-to-access upgrades.

“Years of patience aren’t necessary to get access to the latest innovation, just click refresh,” writes Sinha. “Our customers received more than 125 new features in the last year alone.”

Sinha ends the post with some fightin’ words for the folks in Redmond.

“You can’t just take legacy, desktop software, move some of it to a data center and call it ‘cloud.'”

It may seem like the cloud fight between Microsoft and Google has been waging for years, but we’re only in the first round. Ding ding.

Are you thinking about migrating to a cloud service for e-mail, collaboration or productivity tools? Would you choose Google Apps over Office 365? Sound off in the comment section below.