Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, officially available to the public last week, lets Google Apps users both at home and in the enterprise collaborate on Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents and store them to Google's cloud. Sounds good, right? Well, in a recent blog entry, Microsoft makes it clear that they think Google Cloud Connect does more harm than good.

The first thing Microsoft wants you to know in that blog entry is that as good as collaborating within Microsoft Office by way of Google Cloud Connect might sound, they were doing it as early as Office 2003 with the Document Workspaces and Shared Workbooks features. Of course, those lacked the cloud storage and sync aspect, but the basic collaboration functionality was there.

And then they highlight their own cloud syncing solutions -- the Microsoft Office Web Apps browser-based productivity suite integrates with Office 2010 and Microsoft SharePoint servers alike to accomplish a lot of the same goals as Google Cloud Connect. Instead of storing files to Google's cloud, they get stored to Microsoft Windows Live SkyDrive.

Since Office Web Apps was developed by the same team behind the desktop applications, Microsoft says that they can preserve formatting and data integrity between the endpoint and the cloud better than Google's mere plug-in. And they also say that Google Docs simply doesn't support a lot of Microsoft Office features like Track Changes or certain formatting styles. And a 5MB cap on document size seems steep for large PowerPoint presentations or Excel workbooks.

On that note, Microsoft also claims that Google's product is simply not user-friendly, and multiple editors on a single document can result in data loss. What's more, the plug-in itself can cause Microsoft Office to run more slowly. And an errant click in Google Cloud Connect can cause even a confidential document to become publicly viewable by anyone anywhere, Microsoft claims.

No doubt, Microsoft's claims have the ring of truth to them, especially if user experience bears them out. Data privacy, especially, is a key concern.

But TalkinCloud thinks Microsoft is missing the point in some areas-- Google Apps resellers, especially, are intending to use Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office to ease customers out of Microsoft's ecosystem entirely. And Google's banking that when customers find out that Cloud Connect doesn't work fully with Office, they'll just go entirely to the browser rather than back to an on-premises deployment.

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