Users know no better, but sysadmins do
Using Gmail is like having a houseguest who cooks delicious gourmet meals every night, but rifles through your wallet while you're sleeping at night. Like many institutionalized Gmail users, my worthy opponent has basically argued that he's been using the service for too long to turn back now.
Sure: Gmail has lots of shiny bells and whistles to keep us occupied and entertained. But to simply say that we should stay with Gmail because there's nothing better, is not good enough. Just remember that Google is using Gmail to keep us living in its online ecosystem, perpetuating incompatibilities and a difficult user interface to keep us in its worldview.
It is, in short, the Apple of webmail.
Some users may love it, but system administrators should lament at the trend towards decentralized, hard-to-control Gmail accounts that not only increase training difficulties but offer Google an open channel through which to analyse, index and sell content you would expect to stay private. When this content includes sensitive personal information – or, even worse, corporate secrets – the result is an email service that is really starting to outstay its welcome. Time to go.
Google is ahead of the game: Find something better
I think that a lot of the Gmail angst stems from a dislike of things Google. In the same way that people don't like Microsoft. It's always clever to complain about things that we use. Somehow, I guess, it elevates our status as in-the-know tech people. I don't fit into that ilk. I like some Google things, some Microsoft things, some Apple things, and some Linux things. There is no ultimate mail client.
As much as users like to complain about Gmail, they haven't found anything better to use. And I don't mean something that they perceive as better, just because it isn't Google, but I mean really better.
Gmail has everything you need. It has advanced features such as domain hosting, attachment sensing, vacation responding, automatic addressing for email aliases, a second-to-none SPAM filter, labels, searchable mail, hierarchical mail, starring/flagging, integrated chat, integrated Google+, Google Drive, Google Docs, and so much more that it all escapes me at the moment.
Gmail is built and maintained by the best programmers and thought leaders in technology. I mean, come on, who doesn't want to work for Google? The best search engine, the coolest tools, and leading edge technology is any nerd's dream. Gmail is the bomb. Do people still say "bomb" to describe something that's really cool?
Google doesn't follow trends; it sets them. It continues to improve and enhance Gmail. OK, so Google decided to leave out folders. So what? You can make the transition if you try. Feel the real power of Gmail in the Chrome browser. If you haven't tried Gmail, or haven't tried it in a while, try it. You'll wonder why you ever used anything else. And that's coming from a guy who could use any email client and service he wants to use.
There's no reason to abandon Gmail until something better comes along. And it hasn't. It possibly never will.