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Microsoft: Businesses 'Leaving' Google Apps

Microsoft contended this week that partners and business customers are abandoning the Google Apps hosted productivity suite as inadequate to the task.

The claims come from Andrew Kisslo, a senior product manager on the Microsoft Office team. He lined up testimonials from Champion Solutions Group and BitTitan in a blog post. In another post, he described companies such as Phaeton Automotive, TransCorp of Nigeria and Serena Software -- all abandoning Google Apps.

For its part, Google cited a testimonial from Smart Furniture, which chose Google Apps over using Microsoft Exchange. Google also touted partner praise from LTech.

The Microsoft vs. Google slugfest intensified with Microsoft's launch of Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 to business customers last week. Microsoft now keeps a running list of complaints against Google Apps at this page. Other competitors to Microsoft Office and Microsoft's online services are profiled by Microsoft here.

Microsoft still dominates the productivity suite market with Office. For instance, a Forrester Research survey found that 80 percent of enterprises upgraded to Office 2007, while only four percent used Google Apps Premier Edition.

Kisslo cited Microsoft's recent partner alliance with Capgemini as an example of flagging support for Google Apps. Capgemini announced plans to offer Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) worldwide. The comparison is a little off since BPOS currently lacks an Office service offering. However, Capgemini has offered the Google Apps Premier Edition since 2007 and it now will offer Microsoft's BPOS too.

Kisslo suggested it was customer demand that turned the tide.

"Reminder, Capgemini previously had signed a deal to offer Google Apps services to their install base," Kisslo wrote. "It's clear that customers are voting with their feet, and smart partners like Capgemini are moving with them."

Google has proposed that organizations can use its Google Apps service to avoid upgrading from Office 2003 and Office 2007. Microsoft Office files can now be saved in their native format to Google's Internet cloud, Google contends. However, Microsoft disputed the fidelity of the document formats saved with Google's service. A Microsoft-produced video shows a Word document losing some of its format attributes after being saved through Google's service.

The two companies also have been battling it out on the cost front. Google noted in a blog post that the Google Apps service doesn't require additional hardware and software costs associated with running Microsoft Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010. Organizations wanting to run and manage Office Web Apps will face those costs. However, Kisslo disputed the Google Apps price of $50 per user per year. He contended that organizations would have to purchase additional software to use Google's service, bumping the price of Google Apps to $460 per user per year.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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