Microsoft takes off the gloves with a Google Apps switchers campaign

Microsoft takes off the gloves with a Google Apps switchers campaign

Summary: Remember Apple's "switchers" campaign -- the one where they highlighted Windows users who dumped their Windows PCs for Macs? Microsoft is taking a page out of that book in reverse -- touting customers that are switching from Google Apps to Microsoft's Online hosted services.

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TOPICS: Microsoft, Apps, Cloud, Google
41

Remember Apple's "switchers" campaign -- the one where they highlighted Windows users who dumped their Windows PCs for Macs?

Microsoft is taking a page out of that book in reverse -- touting customers that are switching from Google Apps to Microsoft's Online hosted services.

Microsoft last month played up (in a fairly subtle way) Serena Software's decision to switch from Google Apps to Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS). I was surprised Microsoft didn't attempt to make more hay regarding Serena's decision, given Serena was a poster child for Google Apps. There has been some back and forth about exactly what Serena got in return from Microsoft for its decision to abandon Google Apps. The word is Microsoft cut them a deal -- not exactly giving them a freebie, but offering them some very attractive licensing terms. But so far, no one on either side is spelling out the exact terms of the Serena deal (beyond this "official" statement from Serena).

Around the same time, one of the biggest and most vocal reseller partners to stake a Google Apps claim a couple years ago, Capgemini, also switched its allegiances to BPOS.)

On June 21, Microsoft added two new Google-Apps-switcher case studies to its roster: China Navigation and Intero Real Estate.

China Navigation, a 300-employee company, is said to have abandoned Google Apps for BPOS "after issues with support and reliability." The 2,000-employee Intero Real Estate -- "which is located literally a few freeway exists away from the 'Googleplex' in California, according to a Microsoft blog post -- switched to Microsoft because it needed enterprise-class functionality, like Group Policy Management. In this case, according to the Softies, Google Apps was too simple.

From a quote on the Microsoft "Why Microsoft" blog:

"'It was one thing to migrate a small team of 15 franchise users to Google Apps, but I suspected that it was another thing entirely to move the company's more than 2,000 users,'" says Eric Rees, Director of IT for Intero Real Estate Services."

(The careful way this is worded makes me think Intero might not have dumped Google Apps entirely. I'll report back if that's the case.)

I have not yet spoken to either of these customers or to Google to get the other side of the story. But it's still interesting Microsoft has gone on the offensive with BPOS -- something it almost never does with Office or SharePoint. Looks like it's going to be a dog-eat-dog battle for cloud-hosted apps.

If/when I hear back from Google or these customers directly, I'll update this post with any related information.

Update (June 22): Here's Google's retort, via a corporate spokesperson:

"Large companies with thousands of users continue to switch from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps on a weekly basis.  Competition is good for everyone, and we also pride ourselves on making it easy for companies to move away from Google Apps if they want to.  It’s particularly easy for those that don’t have any employees on Apps to begin with."

Update 2: There's a bit more information from a source with familiarity with the contracts, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. It sounds like -- as I kind of suspected (given how customer case study information from any company usually leaves out the interesting bits, like how much of a price break a customer managed to wrangle) that Microsoft may be omitting a few interesting details with these switcher profiles.

My source says that China Nav's issues with Google Apps had less to do with support and reliability than it did with the fact that the rest of the Swire Group (China Nav's parent company) is a Microsoft shop. The full Microsoft case study write up on China Nav cites a service level agreement guaranteeing 99.9 percent uptime for BPOS. I asked Google for its comparative uptime/reliability figure for Google Apps and a spokesperson told me it has been 99.99 percent for the last four quarters. Hmmm. Something's not adding up here...

Update 3: Microsoft responded on the seeming reliability discrepancy. Via a spokesperson:

“Microsoft Online Services offer the industry’s most rigorous SLAs (service level agreements).  We guarantee 99.9% uptime, or we give customers money back.  And, we count any service issue as downtime.  Microsoft Online Services have averaged 99.9% or better uptime since the start of this year.  While competitors cite similar SLAs, they only count outages that exceed 10 minutes, and thus, they can claim 100% uptime even when they experience frequent short outages in 9 minute increments. We know our customers expect guarantees they can trust, and that’s what we deliver.”

On the Intero front, the same source said that none of the Intero's franchise offices switched from Google Apps to BPOS; one franchise was evaluating it, but none had yet deployed it. Microsoft's full case study on Intero makes it seem that one franchise office dumped Google Apps for BPOS, and the entire rest of the company followed suite, going with Exchange Online.

This is why I never find case studies very useful... there's always another side to the story. Nonetheless, I still think it's newsworthy that Microsoft is going on the offensive with its cloud offerings, rather than sticking to defense, like it traditionally has with its on-premises products.

Topics: Microsoft, Apps, Cloud, Google

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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41 comments
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  • RE: Microsoft takes off the gloves with a Google Apps switchers campaign

    Let me be the first to expand the acronym BPOS - "Big Piece of Sh*t" or "Big Pile of Sh*t".
    mark@...
    • Not entirely original

      @mark@...
      When I was a network administrator running MS systems in a smallish business, folks often referred to their MS computers as POS's or sometime G(Giant)POS's. The first time one of the staff called and asked me to help get her POS running right, I did not realize she was referring to her MS computer. I quickly found out that this was a common acronym for a MS computer at that company.
      dfolk2
      • RE: Microsoft takes off the gloves with a Google Apps switchers campaign

        @dfolk2 Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite is a set of messaging and collaboration tools, delivered as a subscription service, that gives your business rich capabilities without the need to deploy and maintain software and hardware on-premise. <a href="http://www.genericdruglist.net/blog/">Medication List</a>,<a href="http://www.genericdruglist.net/blog/muscle-relaxers.html">Muscle Relaxers</a>,<a href="http://www.genericdruglist.net/blog/pain-drugs.html">Pain Medications</a>,<a href="http://www.genericdruglist.net/blog/erectile-dysfunction-drugs.html">ED Medications</a>,<a href="http://www.genericdruglist.net/blog/arthritis-drugs.html">Arthritis Medications</a>,<a href="http://www.genericdruglist.net/blog/weight-loss-drugs.html">Weight Loss Medications</a>,<a href="http://www.genericdruglist.net/blog/antiviral-drugs.html">Antiviral medications</a>,<a href="http://www.genericdruglist.net/blog/antidepressants.html">Antidepressant Medications</a>
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    • RE: Microsoft takes off the gloves with a Google Apps switchers campaign

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      andrewroy
  • This "back and forth" movement of customers is great...

    ... for the customers.

    It forces Microsoft to drop prices (e.g. make concessions), and it forces Google to improve their functionality/support.

    A win-win situation for customers (the SMBs). Strong competition is always a win for the buyer.
    Basic Logic
    • Other than Team ^&Visual Studio MS has very few

      Products with a future. Those companies that migrate will end up hurting in the long run. MS never gives out something for free, neither does Apple. Google's revenue stream is different, they can afford a free product. Do I find Googles suite suitable, to a point, it becomes more competitive as windows products become hogs.

      One clear example of a totally great idea at MS made impossible to use easily is WorkFlow. Users have to right complicate rules to accomplish a for loop, or something that a linq based function could accomplish faster. The resulting XML files are huge as well, making the system slow. MS never understands that streamlining products is a must.

      GPOS clearly describes what MS is all about.
      Uralbas
      • Google Apps

        @Uralbas

        Aren't free either. Why are you thinking that?

        And Microsoft's products are far from hogs, please tell me you're still not running a 386? Anyway, still better than Google software, that crap crashes daily on my machines.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Microsoft takes off the gloves with a Google Apps switchers campaign

        @Uralbas There are 10 products at MSFT that make over $1Billion in revenue. Yes, no future at all.
        mcleutz
    • Microsoft is a paper tiger

      @Basic Logic ... all you have to do to get huge price concessions, if you're a big corporation, is have an alternative and stand up to them. They'll flee like rabbits, especially today. I know of what I speak.
      HollywoodDog
  • Capgemini didn't switch

    You're own article says so.
    notanothercomment
    • RE: Microsoft takes off the gloves with a Google Apps switchers campaign

      @notanothercomment Oh yes they did follow the link.
      ve3ofa
      • RE: Microsoft takes off the gloves with a Google Apps switchers campaign

        @ve3ofa They didn't "switch". They are using Microsoft's offering, but they still use and promote Google Apps.

        Here's the quote from the link:

        "Capgemini still has a Google Apps offering/practice. I asked whether the integrator planned on abandonning it and was told no."
        BIGELLOW
    • Capgemini

      You are right. They didn't switch entirely. But they are definitely downplaying Google Apps and leading with BPOS, as they acknowledged to me when I asked. Thanks. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • RE: Microsoft takes off the gloves with a Google Apps switchers campaign

        @Mary Jo Foley

        I think you'll find that only one bit of the business is leading with BPOS. Capgemini is very much a federated rather than command and control business. It's safe to say that as many people in Capgemini will have groaned at he announcement as celebrated.
        notanothercomment
    • RE: Microsoft takes off the gloves with a Google Apps switchers campaign

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      andrewroy
  • RE: Microsoft takes off the gloves with a Google Apps switchers campaign

    You can count on hearing a lot of stories like this. With all the screw ups that Google has had lately I'm amazed anyone would continue using their services. Microsoft is where its at.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Oh Loverock, you're so '90's

      @Loverock, Microsoft WAS where it was at in the 90's. Your age is showing.
      Basic Logic
    • RE: Microsoft takes off the gloves with a Google Apps switchers campaign

      @Loverock Davidson

      The thing about Google is that they live and die in public. Google, sorry Bing, BPOS Outage and tell me that BPOS also isn't suffering growing pains.

      I'm not partisan enough to think that one or other is better. Beyond the superficial headlines about the competition they have very different value propositions.
      notanothercomment
  • RE: Microsoft takes off the gloves with a Google Apps switchers campaign

    Welcome to MS's version of SAP's "Safe Passage" campaigns aimed at the Oracle/PSFT/JDE customer base back in 2005/06
    stevemann
  • What MS copying Apple, it couldn't possibly be true;-)

    "Microsoft is taking a page out of that book in reverse..."

    MS hasn't taken out the book, they've adopted the library!
    Richard Flude