Best Argument: Office 365
Microsoft knows what businesses need
Handing over control of your company’s email and collaboration infrastructure is a big decision that shouldn’t be made lightly.
Both Microsoft and Google have built impressive online offerings backed by massive infrastructure. Google, as my esteemed colleague points out, believes you should “live in the cloud, promote collaboration in the cloud, and operate in the browser.”
Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world, where the cloud disappears at inconvenient times, often when you need it most. And those browser-only apps are improving steadily, but they’re still second-rate.
With 20 years of experience in collaboration software, Microsoft knows what businesses need, and Office 365 delivers that enterprise-class product to businesses of all sizes.
This is Microsoft’s core business, and they’re in it for the long haul. For Google, this is still a sideline. Maybe it’ll be around next year, maybe it won’t. I know which company I’d bet my business on.
Different way of doing things
Office 365 is an incredibly useful means of accessing your documents from the browser. Fidelity is good, integration across Microsoft ecosystems is good, and this represents a solid choice for organizations heavily invested in Microsoft infrastructures. The leap to the cloud, after all, is not something that comes easily, especially for large enterprises.
However, Office 365 doesn't give us much that we can't achieve with Microsoft Office and Dropbox. Google Apps, on the other hand, represents a significant transformation in workflow, business processes, and collaborative potential, all administered, provisioned, and managed with total ease from the web. It's a different way of doing things and it isn't the right choice for every organization but can be transformational for those ready and willing to embrace it.
True real-time collaboration, combined with a vast set of integrated third-party applications from the Google Apps Marketplace and mobile device management/integration, make Google Apps a winning choice.
Best bet? Depends
This debate was a bit tricky. Comparing Google Apps and Microsoft's Office 365 can spark a bit of a religious debate. In the end, Ed Bott had the better argument against Christopher Dawson, but the reality is that both of these cloud office suites can work depending on your situation. As many talkbackers noted, Google Apps is better for small businesses based on cost while larger enterprises already invested in Microsoft may find Office 365 the better bet.