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Google Apps Replaces Microsoft Exchange in Boston

The city of Boston is moving its 75,000 employees and education users from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps.

In its announcement Friday, the city said the switch was prompted by a need for a more modern and scalable platform for e-mail, collaboration and document storage.

"This decision represents an important step forward for the City," said Boston Chief Information Officer Bill Oates in a prepared statement. "We want to equip all City employees with easy-to-use tools that allow them be more productive and innovative in their jobs, as well as a system that can scale to keep up with the City's demands."

Boston previously used on-premises Exchange and Symantec Vault products, which on average cost $8.25 per user per month to maintain. The city expects a move to the cloud-based Google Apps will slash that cost by 30 percent each year.

"It will cost Boston around $800,000 to move over to Gmail, Google Docs for word processing, and Google's cloud service for storing documents. But by dropping some Microsoft products, the city government will save at least $280,000 a year," the Boston Globe reported.

For its part, Microsoft called Google's cloud productivity suite "inadequate" in a statement to the Globe.

"We believe the citizens of Boston deserve cloud productivity tools that protect their security and privacy. Google's investments in these areas are inadequate, and they lack the proper protections most organizations require," the Globe quoted a Microsoft spokesperson as saying in an e-mail.

Microsoft's Office 365 team released two aptly timed commercials online on Friday, the same day as Boston's announcement, criticizing Google Apps. One, titled "Google Docs isn't worth the gamble," highlights the potential pitfalls of converting Microsoft Office files to Google Docs. The other, "Office is a team player," takes aim at Google Docs' "deficiencies" in terms of feature set.

In another salvo, Microsoft on Monday announced a few of its recent Office 365 wins, focusing specifically on companies that previously used Google Apps but switched to Microsoft's offering for various reasons. For instance, agrochemical company Arysta LifeScience "initially opted for Google Apps but quickly found employees were unhappy with the experience -- they couldn't share calendars and had limited offline capabilities -- so Arysta switched to Office 365," according to Microsoft's announcement.

Other companies in Microsoft's announcement cited factors relating to security, compliance, ease of use and deployment as reasons for moving to Office 365 from Google Apps.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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