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Microsoft Argues Hidden Costs of Google Apps

With its beta of Office 365 now out, Microsoft has once again come out swinging against its arch rival Google, this time arguing that the lower cost of Google Apps for Business may be a mirage.

Google Apps for Business costs $50 per year. Microsoft's equivalent offering, the forthcoming Office 365 Plan P1, which includes Exchange Online, calendaring and Office Web Apps, will cost $72 per year.

In a new whitepaper titled "Counting the Hidden Costs of Google Apps," Microsoft points to the following Google add-ons and their associated price tags:

  • Postini, which offers security and Gmail retention: $33 per year
  • Power Panel, which provides delegation of administrative tasks: $8 per year
  • Google Apps help desk support: $360 per year

There's a laundry list of other potential costs, but you get the point. Tom Rizzo, Microsoft's senior director of online services, calls it the "The Hidden Google Tax."

"The 'Google Tax' is unnecessary and can add up quite quickly," Rizzo said in a blog post. "This is especially true when running Google Apps alongside Microsoft Office. On the surface, Google Apps may seem like acceptable replacements for enterprise-grade products such as Microsoft Exchange Server or Microsoft Office. But many IT organizations have found that Google Apps bring extra hidden costs."

Opinions will vary as to whether this is Microsoft's latest attempt at FUD, or if these add-ons really add up. A commenter on Rizzo's own post raised the question of how many shops will opt to pay the $360 per year for Google Apps help desk support. Another said Rizzo's post was spot-on.

For shops where cost will dictate which vendor to go with, this debate will rage on and require companies to look at their needs and actual migration costs.

What's your take on Microsoft's latest assault? Fact or FUD? Drop me a line at

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/05/2011 at 1:14 PM

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Reader Comments:

Mon, May 9, 2011 sj

Postini security is free(but not retention), delegation is included (free), and I have free support...all from the business edition.

Fri, May 6, 2011 steveballmer

Office is actually cheaper after 73 years!

Thu, May 5, 2011 Pat Ellison Nashville, TN

But Google Apps do, what my users want to do! I'm tired of retraining staff with EVERY release of MS products. How many of you heard "Where is the save as", "Where is the Print button" hidden under a stupid circle. Sure if you want to add a feature.. Add. Stop moving the GUI around.

Thu, May 5, 2011 Scott Braden

If I were Microsoft I'm not sure I'd be reminding customers to take a close look at their total solution stack costs...

Thu, May 5, 2011 Dr. John Knoxville

Yeah, but will Microsoft give my non-profit organization the entire service package, free, like Google does?

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