Google vs. Microsoft

February 24, 2007

Google announced the premier version of Google Apps (formerly Apps for your Domain) and Wired News asks Should You Switch?

Google Apps Premier Edition is a collection of office tools for businesses — word processor, spreadsheet, e-mail, calendar and web page creator — all of which are accessible through a web browser. Pricing is set at $50 per user per year, less expensive than Microsoft Office but with much the same functionality. Microsoft has its own web-based suite of tools in Office Live, but the company’s offering doesn’t match Google’s. And Google isn’t going after Office Live, it’s going after Office.

Huh, why Microsoft Office and not Microsoft Windows Server and Exchange? From my perspective, the real value of Google Apps is E-Mail/Calendar. Talk, Docs and Spreadsheets, and Page Creator are like MS WordPad and Paint. I use them occasionally and I’m glad they are there but I wouldn’t pay for them.

Exchange is different though. Google Apps Premier is game changing. No need for fault tolerant server hardware,  backup solution, Windows Server license, Exchange server license, IT e-mail specialists, and internal help desk for e-mail. The value-added of Google Apps Premier over the standard edition is 24/7 phone support and enterprise single sign-on integration.

What am I missing? Does using Microsoft Office imply that an Exchange server is used as well?

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3 Responses to “Google vs. Microsoft”

  1. das L Says:

    no, you can use office without exchange.
    i think what gets peopLe worried is having aLL their documents on googLe’s servers. i Like their apps, their practicaL for personaL use, sharing documents with friends, etc. but i don’t think i’d put any business documents on there.

  2. tom s. Says:

    The idea that google docs & spreadsheet has “much the same functionality” as MS Office is very silly as you point out. I agree with you that it’s all about the server. It’s why I think Google docs will beat competitors like Zoho spreadsheet and Zoho Writer that are perhaps better done from an application point of view. It’s also why people like 37 Signals and other online calendar/task management people will have problems competing with Google. The only way I see it changing is initiatives like Amazon S3, where the application developer can outsource storage to a scalable platform.

    Like das L I worry about putting too much of my life on Google’s servers, but as a user of three computers the convenience of knowing I can get at calendar and documents from anywhere has beaten that sceptical part of me into submission for now.

  3. RAD Says:

    I don’t think any online calendar application can be successful without e-mail integration. Online e-mail/calendar integration can only come from Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google from what I see/understand.

    Multi-machine access makes web based e-mail very appealing. The downside is security fears and offline access (i.e. reading/writing e-mail on a plane).

    Google Docs gives you the multi-machine access but it adds collaboration. This, I think, is what differentiates the offering compared to Microsoft Office. Collaboration, especially extended beyond organizational boundaries, is very powerful.


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