For those who thought that no company in the cloud space could legitimately offer "99.9 percent uptime", it turns out Google can.
Last year, Gmail for consumers and Google Apps customers achieved 99.984 percent uptime, and was up for 99.99 percent for the first quarter of this year -- equating to less than five minutes of downtime on average per month.
As part of Google's service level agreement, just as Microsoft does, the company will offer customers a certain amount of free days of service in each billing cycle if it cannot meet the level of availability it says it can.
But Google admits that it "isn't perfect". In trying to be so, the search giant has developed a new Apps Status Dashboard to provide faster, more accurate and up-to-the-minute information on outages in a timeline format.
According to Gartner research, cloud-hosted services account for between 3-4 percent of the overall enterprise email market. Google only has a fraction compared to Microsoft or other providers, but takes up nearly half in the total cloud email market.
One thing is clear, is that though Microsoft may have the greater numbers on its cloud-based email services, it cannot boast the greater reliability or uptime -- the crucial factor in any outsourcing decision.
The Advertising Standards Agency is investigating a complaint over "marketing communication on Microsoft's website" specifically in regards to the uptime claims the company makes in its advertising material.
Microsoft's next-generation cloud email service, Office 365, which launched earlier this year, replaces the trouble-ridden Business Productivity Online Services (BPOS), which was famed for its downtime.