Microsoft Works To Challenge Google Cloud

Microsoft Works To Challenge Google

As more research comes out, it appears Microsoft is working as hard as ever to challenge Google in the cloud. Microsoft’s hybrid cloud solution, Office 365, has been pitted against Google’s cloud service, Google Apps, for the past year since Office 365’s inception. And ever since, Google has proved time and again that it is the authority in the cloud competition.

Most recently, Gartner Inc., a research firm, was the one to confirm Google’s lead in the cloud competition. This May, the firm released new data showing that between one-third and one-half of businesses moving to the cloud for the first time are choosing to do so with a Google Apps migration. Some may find this report particularly unsettling for Microsoft since the same firm offered a prediction in 2009 that Microsoft would outsell Google by four to one by 2012.

But Microsoft is taking great strides to strengthen its position against Google, the question is how much its efforts are paying off. This spring, Microsoft added a new platform to the Office 365 suite, lowered prices of all cloud platforms, and even created a “Google Compete” team.

Since Microsoft first introduced Office 365 in summer 2011, it has offered multiple platforms for businesses of all kinds. But this spring Microsoft decided to add some diversity to the Office 365 family when it added an Office 365 for Education platform. This new platform rivals the Google Apps for Education suite. Introducing Office 365 for Education did expand Microsoft’s cloud offerings, but Microsoft still has quite a way to go if it wants to cater to as many demographics as Google, which has cloud platforms specifically for business, education, non-profit, and government use.

Google vs Apple vs Microsoft

Around this same time, Microsoft also lowered the prices of its existing platforms by 20%. This price drop made the least costly version of Office 365 $48/user/year. This platform is only for businesses with fewer than 50 people and does not include all of the Office 365 applications, meaning that businesses will need to buy add-ons if they want to use the full apps suite. In comparison, the highest-priced platform of Google Apps is Google Apps for Business, which costs $50/user/year. Although this seems like it costs slightly more than the lowest-priced Office 365 platform, it is not. It is misleading because Google Apps for Business is a standard price for businesses of any size and it includes all of the applications, meaning that it is not necessary to purchase additional apps to run the platform is intended.

Adding a new platform and lowering the prices may help attract some people to Microsoft rather than to Google, but as Microsoft learned these changes still may not be enough. And Microsoft’s latest competitive effort – the “Google Compete” team – further illustrates this point. Microsoft developed this team with the purpose of using it to retain existing Microsoft customers who are entertaining the idea of going Google. The Wall Street Journal told the story of this team at work in the case of a Virginia company, Dominion Enterprises. Dominion Enterprises was a Microsoft customer whose CIO, Joe Fuller, was looking into making the switch to the Google cloud. According to the WSJ, in an effort to save the account, the “Google Compete” team invited Fuller to tour the Microsoft headquarters in Washington. Fuller got perks such as a look at the research lab and developing technologies, but these were not enough to seal the deal. In the end, Fuller still chose to have Google Apps setup, telling the WSJ he based his decision on his belief that Google offered a cooler product than did Microsoft and that switching to Google would save his company money, as it would cost $200,000 a year instead of $2 million.

Fuller’s point of view highlights the fact that there are differences between Google Apps and Office 365 beyond basic points like platform variety and price. First, Google Apps is an entirely cloud-based solution while Office 365 is a hybrid cloud solution. This means that Google Apps runs completely within the web browser and does not require any additional hardware or software while Office 365 does need some additional installation. For Google users, this results in complete universal access. Microsoft users do have mobility, but it may not be complete mobility. Google and Microsoft users will also take advantage of very different programs within each cloud service, as Google relies on programs such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Documents, and Google Sites, while Microsoft runs on programs including Exchange, Lync, Sharepoint, and Office Web Apps.

In sum, although Microsoft has already taken steps to challenge Google in the cloud, it still has its work cut out going forward.

By Sharon Shapiro,

Sharon Shapiro writes for Cloud Sherpas, a leading cloud service provider named the “Google Enterprise 2011 Partner of the Year.” As one of the first Google Enterprise partners, Cloud Sherpas has migrated over one million users across a variety of industries from legacy, on-premise messaging systems to Google Apps, helping organizations adopt cloud computing to innovate and dramatically reduce their IT expenses. A Google Apps Reseller in Atlanta, GA, Cloud Sherpas has regional offices in locations including San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Austin and Sydney, and has more Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialists than any other partner in the world.

About CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading authorities in connected technology information and services.

We embrace and instill thought leadership insights, relevant and timely news related stories, unbiased benchmark reporting as well as offer green/cleantech learning and consultive services around the world.

Our vision is to create awareness and to help find innovative ways to connect our planet in a positive eco-friendly manner.

In the meantime, you may connect with CloudTweaks by following and sharing our resources.

View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

The Security Gap: What Is Your Core Strength?

The Security Gap: What Is Your Core Strength?

The Security Gap You’re out of your mind if you think blocking access to file sharing services is filling a security gap. You’re out of your mind if you think making people jump through hoops like Citrix and VPNs to get at content is secure. You’re out of your mind if you think putting your…

Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Hybrid Cloud Environments After several years of steady cloud adoption in the enterprise, an interesting trend has emerged: More companies are retaining their existing, on-premise IT infrastructures while also embracing the latest cloud technologies. In fact, IDC predicts markets for such hybrid cloud environments will grow from the over $25 billion global market we saw…

The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

Box.net, Amazon Cloud Drive The online (or cloud) storage business has always been a really interesting industry. When we started Box in 2005, it was a somewhat untouchable category of technology, perceived to be a commodity service with low margins and little consumer willingness to pay. All three of these factors remain today, but with…

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? Find Out

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? Find Out

ERP Deployment You know how ERP deployment can improve processes within your supply chain, and the things to keep in mind when implementing an ERP system. But do you know if cloud-based or on-premise ERP deployment is better for your company or industry? While cloud computing is becoming more and more popular, it is worth…

How Formal Verification Can Thwart Change-Induced Network Outages and Breaches

How Formal Verification Can Thwart Change-Induced Network Outages and Breaches

How Formal Verification Can Thwart  Breaches Formal verification is not a new concept. In a nutshell, the process uses sophisticated math to prove or disprove whether a system achieves its desired functional specifications. It is employed by organizations that build products that absolutely cannot fail. One of the reasons NASA rovers are still roaming Mars…

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security It’s no secret many organizations rely on popular cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft for access to computing infrastructure. The many perks of cloud services, such as the ability to quickly scale resources without the upfront cost of buying physical servers, have helped build a multibillion-dollar cloud industry that continues to grow each…

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises The surface costs might give you pause, but the cost of diminishing your differentiators is far greater. Will a shift to the cloud save you money? Potential savings are historically the main business driver cited when companies move to the cloud, but it shouldn’t be viewed as a cost-saving exercise. There…

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Education Tech and the Cloud Arguably one of society’s most important functions, teaching can still seem antiquated at times. Many schools still function similarly to how they did five or 10 years ago, which is surprising considering the amount of technical innovation we’ve seen in the past decade. Education is an industry ripe for innovation…