Unsurprisingly, Google isn't taking the launch of the Microsoft Office 365 cloud productivity suite lying down. But that doesn't mean it's taking up arms, either: In a blog entry titled "365 reasons to consider Google Apps," the search giant lays out the case for its cloud productivity vision -- and says Microsoft is hopelessly stuck in the past.

Their position really boils down to four key points, as per that blog entry:

  • "Office 365 is for individuals. Apps is for teams." -- Google says its Google Apps platform is designed for collaboration, with real-time document editing, in-line chatting and tw0-click file sharing, with no additional licenses needed no matter who's on the other end.

  • "Office 365 is built for Microsoft. Apps is built for choice." -- As I myself noted in my first impressions of Microsoft Office 365, the service is really designed to work within Microsoft's ecosystem. Google says if your device has a browser, it's ready to work with Google Docs, but Office 365 needs a Windows environment to reach its full potential.

  • "Office 365 is 11 different plans, three editions and two tiers. Apps is $5 per month with no commitment." -- I have to call out Google Apps here for being a little disingenuous -- Microsoft Office 365 does indeed carry that many pricing plans, but Google Apps has two tiers of its own. The $5 per month plan quoted is for the "flexible pricing" option, which is itself more expensive than the $50 per user per year the company quotes for 12-month contracts. Google is also promoting the Data Liberation Front, which is Google's initiative to help users move data off the Google Apps platform if they choose.

  • "Office 365 is about the desktop. Apps is about the web. " Building on that second point, Google says it delivers updates on a rolling basis, with the implication that Office 365 is far more sluggish in implementing innovation. That's a little disingenuous, too: Google Apps also offers users the "scheduled release track," a Microsoft-style timed release schedule that aims to take the surprise out of updates for enterprise customers.


On a final note, Google promotes its cloud uptime against Microsoft's, saying that Gmail has had 99.99 percent availability since January. But of course, it didn't mention the data-wiping glitches that affected 150,000 users earlier this year. The blog didn't cover all of the purported 365 reasons, but it's soliciting ideas from Google Enterprise users on its Twitter account.

Overall, it seems as though Google thinks Microsoft's approach to cloud services is flawed to the point where the company is not even worried. And Google Apps Authorized Resellers seem to be doing well for themselves, despite the channel chatter around Office 365.

As always, we welcome additional perspectives in the comments below. And keep watching TalkinCloud for more on Google and Microsoft's cloud efforts.

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