Google vs Microsoft: Online Apps Throwdown
Has anyone seen these Google billboards?
Apparently during the entire month of August, they’ve been on display on four major U.S. highways around the country: the 101 in San Francisco, the West Side Hwy in New York, the Ike in Chicago, and Mass Pike in Boston. Google went back to old school marketing methods with this creative billboard campaign. They even kicked it up a notch by striving to put up a new message each day on these four boards. The spotlight is on Google Apps, their Enterprise Productivity Suite.
For those unfamiliar with what Google Apps mean, you probably use (or at least heard of) it in the form of Gmail or Google docs, etc. Though these Apps are very useful on the individual level, the “Going Google” campaign is really targeting enterprise or business customers to adopt their online Google App system.
…And targeted towards taking down Microsoft. (Of course.)
Not surprising, Microsoft has their own brand of online applications to match Google’s list called Microsoft Online Services (or if you like things that are really long: the Microsoft Online Business Productivity Suite).
With Apps and Online Services, both tech giants are moving forward in establishing their turf in the current cloud computing technology trend.
Basically, Apps and Online Services are professional applications – tools a good business needs in order to run like writing documents/spreadsheets, email, backing up and sharing files, etc. – but all ON THE WEB. Businesses don’t have to house their information servers or install any applications anymore. The idea is you can access all this stuff you need for work through any web browser; you just need an internet connection. Since your business’ applications and information servers are taken care of (either by Google or Microsoft), you don’t have to worry about infrastructure maintenance or IT upgrades. (Which any non-techie business person knows can be a gargantuan pain.)
SO… imagine the previous time your server crashed (again) and you saw crimson. Though everyone likes taking 3 hour lunches, it still sucks that business comes to a halt. We’re not all cut out to deal with IT issues, so you have to wait until someone figures out how to fix it. Good luck if there’s no tech help on hand. BUT… with this idea of web-based apps, this scenario will be reduced by 99.99 percent. Everything is online and someone else will take care of the problems (which who doesn’t love?).
That brings us to the inevitable question: So Google Apps or MS Online Services?
Who knows? There are as many similarities as there are differences and it depends on the business’ needs and preferences.
That being said, it’s difficult to ignore that for businesses, Microsoft Office is the professional standard. For companies, switching technologies is as slow as watching a pack of snails change directions. Businesses use Microsoft applications for work and they like it that way. So for businesses that want to stay trendy and take the next step into cloud computing, making the switch to MS Online Services will be a lot more familiar and convenient.
In a recent survey by Forrester looking at 152 IT decision-makers at companies of all sizes, nearly 92 percent are supporting either Office 2007 or Office 2003 or earlier. Only 3.3 percent use Google Apps.
For businesses, Microsoft productivity suites have been tried and true. Am I biased? Probably. Nonetheless, the facts still stand.
[Bonus: So if you’re a business wondering if the move to cloud computing or virtualization is for you, then considering testing it out for a month with no strings attached. Try Microsoft Online Services free here or learn more about it.]