It's simple: Microsoft should make its online apps conform to real world requirements for data security and integrity, instead of the Google-uber-alles terms of service that Google sets forth for its Google Apps users. Having just added some new work group features, you think that Google would have gotten these issues figured out already. Not.
I've written about this before, and, while there was some question about my reading of the TOS at the time, I think it's pretty clear what's really going on. For the privilege of using Google's services, including Apps, for free, the sucker...customer gets to forgo pretty much any reasonable protection for the content -- documents, spreadsheets, etc. (see below) -- that it places inside a Google service. That should pretty much make it a non-starter for any real company trying to do real business using a Google App. Unless PT Barnum was really right....
First, let's clarify what content is. Here's the wording from the Google Terms of Service page:
"data files, written text, computer software, music, audio files or other sounds, photographs, videos or other images)"
Then, let's clarify what Google says you have given it the right to do with your content, even though it generously lets you keep your copyright: (the typos are courtesy Google's legal department, which forgot to use a word processor with a spell-checker.)
11.1 ..... By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This licence is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.
Did you catch that last line? The one about displaying your content in order to promote Google's Services? Which of your business's content would you want used in this way?
Then there's the part about how Google can make your content available for syndicated services -- i.e. spam and other forms of advertising. Again, what content do you think you'd like shared in this way?
11.2 You agree that this licence includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.
Don't forget the cute little provision about termination of services, which goes like this:
4.3 .... As part of this continuing innovation, you acknowledge and agree that Google may stop (permanently or temporarily) providing the Services (or any features within the Services) to you or to users generally at Google’s sole discretion, without prior notice to you.
And here's the clincher: Google can also nuke your data when it wants to, with no recourse to the user: 4.4 You acknowledge and agree that if Google disables access to your account, you may be prevented from accessing the Services, your account details or any files or other content which is contained in your account. So, Microsoft, this one should be easy. Just offer your online service users a reasonable level of protection for their data and other "content." My guess is that it would cost you absolutely nothing, and make Google's TOS look like the Big Brother-esque, non-starter, pain in the compliance that it is.