Microsoft hasn't done a whole lot today, the opening day of the Google I/O conference, to attempt to throw cold water on Google's message that it is serious about getting enterprises into the cloud.
However, there was one interesting counter-announcement from the Redmondians on May 19. Microsoft announced that systems integrator and consultancy Capgemini is making a major commitment to Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS). BPOS is a bundle of Microsoft-hosted and -managed applications, including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Communications Online and Live Meeting.
What makes today's BPOS announcement more interesting is Capgemini came out of the gate back in 2007 as a major backer of Google Apps Premier Edition (GAPE). The September 10 announcement riled Microsoft so much that company officials accidentally e-mailed me a talking points document that attempted to head off any positive press the Capgemini announcement might have garnered for Google.
Capgemini still has a Google Apps offering/practice. I asked whether the integrator planned on abandonning it and was told no. But Capgemini is definitely downplaying its Google Apps services. Check out this statement from Don Jones, Capgemini's Vice President of ITS Partnerships, that I received when I asked about the company's new-found BPOS love:
"We believe BPOS will be the right solution for the vast majority of our clients. However, clients value our independence and know that, because we are not owned or managed by any software or hardware provider, we will deliver the absolute right solution to meet our clients’ business needs every time."
Microsoft announced on May 19 that Capgemini has promised to train more than 1,000 people on BPOS and is developing a set of tools to help customers migrate to BPOS more easily from Lotus Notes or other platforms. Capgemini has committed to "actively promote BPOS within its global client base," as well.
Capgemini isn't the only former Google Apps/Docs poster child to do an about-face this week. Serena Software, which made a significant (and vociferous) commitment to Google Docs a couple of years ago, has decided to dump Google's offering for Microsoft's BPOS. Microsoft officials say Serena made the switch to save money; an eWEEK report claims that Microsoft cut Serena a deal that was "too good to pass up."
I wonder how much of a deal/discount Microsoft is willing to offer to accrue more "switcher" stories like Serena....