Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Google Apps v. MS 365 - A Cloud of Difference

Google has upped the anti as the intended launch of Microsoft 365 approaches.

For those who read my recent blog, Google use my same argument. Just putting a current product into a hosted environment, amortising the price and calling it somethning different is not The Cloud. MS 365 takes all the features of its point Office products and just sticks somewhere else other than your PC. Like salesforce.com, NetSuite and others, Google designed Google Apps on the web and so it a completely different animal.

To start with, Google Apps is designed for teams not individuals. You do get SharePoint with MS 365 but multiple users cannot work on the same document as it is just a repository for files, with Google you can. In Microsoft world you cannot work with anyone outside your company who does not have MS applications, with Google you can. This is web philosophy versus on-premise, one licence, one user mentality.

Microsoft have always designed with the PC in mind and Windows operating system. The web is different and a hosted solution should be able to be used in exactly the same way with whatever device you work on with. Google has that philosphy. Interoperability between PC, Mac, tablet and phone on the same product with Google. Try that on Microsoft. The web is the platform, not the machine.

I looked at Microsoft 365 pricing. If you are an SME you think it's simple but it isn't. There are around 11 different pricing options with tiers. Google has a single price per month with no commitment of time, you can stop using and paying any time. I am not sure that is exactly right but for simplicity's sake as an SME, it's a peach. And it's remained static for 4 years.

The thing is that MS 365 is still all about using your desktop whereas Google and others use the web as the platform. There is still a cloudy issue on upgrades with MS whereas Google and web based applications deliver refreshed product all the time - Google Apps added 125 new features in the last year alone. And reliability is key. Much has been made of Google's outtages but I sat on a corporate network only yesterday and for the thrid time in two weeks we had a lengthy email outtage. As it wasn't on the web, everyone just accepts it. In Google's case there has no place to hide and that's how they like it. Google deliver 99.99% uptime on the web whereas MS cannot even deliver that on a private network.

Google has the advantage of experience. It was a company born in The Cloud and has grown up in there. I am not the best of fans of the Google ethos at times but when it comes to delivery, they are spot on. In the battle for users in The Cloud, Google has the right philosophy, mentality, products and pricing.

38,000 companies across the globe signed up to Google Apps in the last week. I didn't even trial MS 365 as I couldn't see the benefit of just hosting my Office off my PC and being charged more over the 3 years since I bought it. Office hasn't changed an iota in that time and that's my issue.

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