Compare Microsoft Office 365 versus Google Apps

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Are you trying to compare the new Microsoft Office 365 to Google Apps? We liked the article from VentureBeat’s Peter Yared, Why Microsoft’s Office 365 will clobber Google Apps, which found a number of holes in the common sales points for Google Apps. Yared has some very strong points about the advantages of Office 365.

I particularly liked the summation of the value proposition from both pieces of software. Google Apps certainly seems like the sweeter pick at first glance — the sticker price is cheaper and it appears to have a lower deployment overhead than does Office 365. However, if you imagine a real-life scenario, you start to notice several hitches that Office 365 can navigate with ease. If a business is currently running on Office and Outlook, you’ll sacrifice tons of functionality — not to mention the ability to work offline — by moving to Google Apps. There’s no automated process to migrate Sharepoint data either; you have to move all that manually or leave it behind. There’s no hope for .Net applications either. They must either be used independently or rewritten from the ground up for Google. With Office 365, the story is totally different. Microsoft handles everything from data migration to deployment. All you have to do is schedule a time and then enjoy the next generation of office products.

The article also has a few harsh words for Google Apps’ layout and interface, which I don’t necessarily share. However, we do agree on one point: Office’s interface and functionality is second-to-none. Google Apps is usable, sure, but it only provides the barest of functionality and presents that functionality in a dated way. It sort of feels like the Microsoft Office from ten years ago, while Office 365 feels like the Office from ten years into the future. It’s not so much great vs. terrible, but incredible vs. decent.

Finally, there’s an awfully big hole that takes the wind out of Google Apps’ sails. They’ve been promoting that three million businesses have switched over to Google Apps lately, but this claim involves quite a bit of truth-stretching. Most of these businesses have merely migrated over to Gmail, and still use Office and Outlook to fill the gaps in functionality. Rolling Gmail into Google Apps must have been awfully convenient for the promotions department over there.

In a lot of ways, cloud apps feel like the wild west, complete with gold rush mentality. Since this is a new paradigm, it’s a little hard to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the boasts thrown around regarding business suites. Luckily there are still some sources in which to find critical analysis about the lesser known benefits and glaring drawbacks involved.

By MS Infrastructure Blog Editors, Directory of Microsoft Partners

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