General Motors Chooses Google Apps over Microsoft Office 365

Google has reportedly inked an agreement to provide General Motors Corp. with the Google Apps cloud-based e-mail and collaboration suite for more than 100,000 employees.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal Friday, Google has to meet certain requirements before the auto-maker ultimately decides to deploy Google Apps, which would displace an in-house version of IBM's Lotus Notes collaboration and e-mail software.

GM didn't confirm or deny that it is considering Google Apps. "GM's IT organization explores technology capabilities of various developers all the time -- we have to do that in order to be on the leading edge of workplace technology. GM has not made a decision to deploy Google Apps," a company spokesman said in an e-mail.

If GM were to deploy Google Apps enterprise-wide, it would be a major coup for Google, which has yet to publically clinch such a major deployment. Likewise it would be a blow to Microsoft, which is trying to gain traction with its own offering, Office 365, launched earlier this year. Both Google and Microsoft have competed vigorously for cloud messaging and collaboration wins a battle that has been heated.

A major win by Google would be welcome by the company, which has announced few large Google Apps deals to date. One of its marquee wins, the $7.2 million City of Los Angeles contract, was signed nearly two years ago, but it still hasn't been completely rolled out to LA's 30,000 employees. The lead contractor CSC has completed the deployment of 17,000 seats, while some agencies have held off on the rollout saying it doesn't meet security requirements, a claim Google refuted.

Google claims it has over 4 million Google Apps customers but the company does not break out how many run the fee-based offering verses the free service. Google recently received an endorsement from Gartner, which put out a report stating that Google Apps is now suitable for enterprise deployment.

Cloud e-mail only accounts for 3 to 4 percent of the overall enterprise e-mail installed base, according to Gartner, which is forecasting it will account for 20 percent by 2016 and 55 percent by 2020.


About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.


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