Friday Thought: Is Microsoft Afraid of a Fair Fight?

I do not condemn Microsoft for promoting its cloud services.  Nor do I think they are wrong to compare their services to others, including those from Google.  Watching their marketing efforts, I do wonder if Microsoft is afraid of a fair fight.  Here is why …

In an effort to create viral support for Office365, Microsoft has produced several videos on YouTube.  These videos, attempt a humorous comparison of Office365 to other services.  This video, as an example, is making the rounds on IT discussion forums as it claims to compare Office365 and Google Apps.

Using Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (or “FUD”) is a time honored sales technique, which can be quite effective.  This video, however, is intentionally deceptive, comparing Office365 as a paid service against free versions of Gmail and Google Apps.  Microsoft’s claims about ads are false when looking at Google Apps for Business, for Education, and for Government, and Microsoft knows this.

Why would Microsoft blur a comparison between Office365 and Google Apps?

Why would Microsoft shy away from a fair comparison?

Google Apps for Business costs less than comparable Office365 capabilities

Google Apps integrates with Office 2003/2007/2010 for added features

  • Office365 requires Office 2010 licenses for full feature access

Google Apps has 1 pricing plan for each type of customer (business, government, education, non-profit)

  • Office365 has 11 pricing plans spread over 2 types of licenses; you cannot switch license types once you start using the service

Google Apps customers always receive the latest updates and versions, with incremental, scheduled releases every few weeks

  • Companies using Microsoft BPOS (based on Exchange & Sharepoint 2007) have no upgrade path to Office365 (based on Exchange & Sharepoint 2010), without starting over and a full data migration project

Google Apps is designed for 100% availability – 24 x 7 x 365 – and Achieved 99.984% Availability in 2010 (see here for more)

  • Office365 still requires scheduled and emergency maintenance windows that interrupt service to users
  • Less than 6 weeks after launch, Office365 had an Exchange outage effecting most users in North America for between 3 and 5 hours
  • In August 2010, Microsoft’s BPOS service in North America had more than 40 hours of scheduled and unscheduled down time

Google Apps was designed from the ground up to be a secure, reliable, multi-tenant, service in which all users have access to the latest features.

  • Office365 is a modified version of Microsoft’s “2010” generation of Exchange, Sharepoint, and other services
  • The technology dates back more than 3 years in development and was originally designed for use as in-house, single-tenant, servers
  • New features arrive months apart and only with service packs and upgrades

Looking at the current differences between Google Apps and Office365, I understand Microsoft’s marketing strategy.  Do you?