Microsoft Steps Up Its Efforts In the Cloud
This article is from guest blogger
Sharon Shapiro, writer.
In a show of increased determination to surpass Google in the cloud computing market, Microsoft has stepped up its efforts in the cloud.
In spite of its new attempts to compete, the one-year old Office 365 has a long way to go before it can overcome the 6 year-old Google Apps.
Microsoft’s efforts not only include attracting customers who are new to the cloud, but also preventing its current customers from making a switch with a Google Apps migration.
One can easily understand why Microsoft is making such a push in light of recent trends and news reported by research firm Gartner Inc. and the Wall Street Journal.
Gartner Research Indications
First, Gartner reported in May that between 33% and 50% of all businesses moving to web-based software for the first time are electing Google Apps.
This trend was not ideal for Microsoft, who, in 2009, Gartner predicted would be outselling Google by a margin of four to one by this point.
Therefore, it is understandable that Microsoft has taken great strides to attract new customers to its hybrid cloud program, Office 365.
In March, Microsoft not only expanded Office 365 to include a platform for educational institutions, but it also cut the prices of the pre-existing platforms available to businesses.
Despite the platform addition and 20% price reductions, Microsoft still has less platform variety and is more expensive than Google Apps – which offers suites to businesses, schools, governments, and non-profits, and runs for $50/user/year or less depending on the suite.
Wall Street Journal Report
In July, the Wall Street Journal reported on Microsoft’s efforts to hold onto its existing customers with the formation of a special “Google Compete” team, whose sole goal is to prevent customers from making a switch.
Although the team provided Dominion Enterprises, a marketing firm headquartered in Virginia and a Microsoft customer, with a special, two-day tour of the Microsoft headquarters, CIO Joe Fuller still decided that his company should make a change and go Google.
According to Fuller, the fact that his company would save 50% with Google (he went from paying $2 million for Microsoft to paying $200,000/year for Google Apps) and his opinion that Office 365 was “not as cool” as Google Apps factored into his ultimate decision.
It’s Tough Seeing Taillights All the Time
Although these differences may be the most obvious to people who are simply researching which cloud platform is best for them, there are more differences between the two platforms that have more of an impact on each user’s cloud experience.
For example, the programs that Google uses for communication and document-creation (including Gmail, Google Documents, Google Sites, and Google Groups) allow for significantly more collaboration than the programs that Office 365 uses for the same purposes (including Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, and Office Web Apps).
Moreover, Google Apps provides its users with a more complete cloud experience than does Office 365.
This is because Google Apps is a fully cloud based program while Office 365 is a hybrid cloud solution.
Google Apps is a subscription-based service that does not require any additional hardware or software and that runs entirely within the web browser.
As a result, users can access their accounts from anywhere on any web-enabled device.
On the other hand, Office 365 requires installation of some additional software and servers.
So, while users can access some information universally, the need for extra software does limit the mobility of the Office 365 suite.
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