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The war of words between Microsoft and Google continues with this post from the “Why Microsoft” blog:

Googlighting is what happens when the world’s largest advertising business tries to sell productivity software on the side. In fact, according to Gartner, Google Apps accounts for merely 0.5% of the ad company’s revenue after five years of Googlighting. Meanwhile, Microsoft enjoys its trustworthy reputation in the cloud; with 40% of companies from the Interbrand list of top 100 brands.

Then there’s this incredibly cheesy, yet pretty enjoyable, video from Microsoft (hosted on Google’s YouTube, of course):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4EbCkotKPU

These are the latest shots in an ongoing campaign by Microsoft to separate itself from Google in the minds of small and medium-sized businesses.  They don’t want anyone comparing Google Apps with Office, but Google has succeeded in sparking that conversation and getting some traction in the market because of it.

Based on our real-world experience over the years, there really is no comparison.

When Google Apps launched, it was a promising alternative to the Exchange/Outlook/Office empire.  Google was viewed as the plucky upstart David to Microsoft’s hulking incumbent Goliath.  It was exciting and attractive because it was new, accessible, and, best of all, absolutely free.

Since then, most of that luster has been lost for businesses who absolutely have to have a reliable email and productivity solution.  Google continued to push half-baked features and updates out the door, causing bizarre bugs that wasted valuable time for IT departments as well as end-users.  To make matters worse, when there’s a problem, there’s no one to call.  Google never provided phone support, even for the paid “Business” version, until just a few months ago.

Let me rephrase that: it took Google five years to provide basic phone support for a service that they’ve been 1) charging end-users for every month on the front-end, and 2) double-dipping on by selling advertising against the content of their users’ emails.

It seems obvious now: you’re not the customer, you’re the product.  Advertisers are Google’s customers.  If you need support for a Google product you’re using, you’re on your own.  But if you’re an advertiser, you can quickly get your problem solved by a staff of courteous, professional Googlers.

By using Google Apps, you’re agreeing to let Google comb through your emails and other data and sell advertising against whatever they find.  Send an email about an upcoming fishing trip, and you might see an ad for Orvis when you open your friend’s reply.

You may be OK with this, but when your business absolutely depends on email to get things done, can you afford to be viewed by your email provider as the product being sold, and not the customer?

I’m happy to see Microsoft finally fighting back, even though they took their sweet time.  I could be described as an “Apple guy”, but I won’t hesitate to say that Office365 is an outstanding product with numerous features and benefits:

  • Excellent phone support, available 24/7
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee
  • Automatic backup and redundancy for all of your data
  • Seamless, automatic email, contacts, and calendar syncing to desktops, laptops, smartphones, and iPads
  • Works with Macs out of the box (Outlook not required)
  • Web conferencing with live online presentations
  • Group communication with Lync instant messaging
  • Web-based clients that allow you to access all your data from any internet connected computer in the world
  • Complete integration with Office 2007 and Office 2010
  • Flexible, affordable pricing starting at $5 per user per month

Of all the things keeping us busy these days, we’ve been busiest with setting up new and existing clients with Office365.  Please feel free to drop us a line if you’re interested in learning more.

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