Tomorrow Microsoft launch their new Office 365 business cloud platform integrating email, calendaring, office, sharepoint and intranets with communications and messaging. It's a big platform with a big future ahead of it as I wrote about the other day.
Now Google are hitting out with a blog post entitled "365 reasons to consider Google Apps". Now this article, which contains just four points, not 365 (to reassure all those people who never finished War and Peace), is singing the praises of Google's alternative.
They list that it's Designed for Teams, but Office 365 has collaboration built into it big time. In fact it can easily be argued that teams is what Office 365 is all about.
Google go on to say you can be Productive anywhere with their suite. As it's a cloud-based offering though I'd hope for this as the very minimum. They then say it's Simple and Affordable, and go on to say that pricing starts from only $5 a month, which is exactly what office 365 pricing starts at too.
Finally they talk about the Pure and Proven Cloud. Google have a good reputation in this, but so do Microsoft and there's the small matter that Google Docs spent, well I lost count frankly, in beta before it was finally considered finished. In fact all Google products live like this.
Despite the chastising I'm not being anti-Google here. I believe that not only is there more than enough space in the worldwide cloud business productivity marketplace to support two different systems, but that it's absolutely essential that both compete with each other and do so aggressively. After all, everybody remembers how Internet Explorer 6 languished unimproved for many years while malware took hold, simply because it didn't have any competition.
Competition is critical but Google have got to raise their game. They even say at the end of their blog post "Ok, we didn’t get to all 365 reasons here today, but we hope we gave you some things to think about." WHAT?! I can think of a reason right here, it's available and working 365 days a year, why didn't they say that?
Suffice to say my argument here is that Google have tried to compete with Office 365 by telling the world that everything their competitor does, they do the same thing. This is ridiculous! If Google are ever going to compete here and not get completely stamped on by Microsoft, they need to tell people about all the differences, all the little things that Google Apps does which Office 365 doesn't that, ultimately make all the difference, and they need to make a big song and dance about the fact that they were here first and, thus, will have much more experience.
Those things are true and worth shouting about. At the moment, poor Google is trying desperately to say "we're every bit as good as Office 365" while putting across an underlying message of "we know we're not really and it's getting us down a bit."
Online cloud services for businesses are going to be huge in the coming years, huge enough for several major players to get involved, and they'll prove to be critically important for the world's economy, especially in emerging markets and for small businesses that can't currently afford to compete with the big boys in a level playing field. It's utterly essential then that Microsoft have at least one proper competitor who is prepared to roll its sleeves up and get stuck in with the job at hand.
I'm sorry Google but this kind of wimpy, last minute effort simply isn't good enough.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.