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Google Challenging Microsoft For Business Software 235

SternisheFan tips a report at the NY Times about the progress Google is making in its quest to unseat Microsoft's position atop the business software industry. From the article: It has taken years, but Google seems to be cutting into Microsoft's stronghold — businesses. ... In the last year Google has scored an impressive string of wins, including at the Swiss drug maker Hoffmann-La Roche, where over 80,000 employees use the package, and at the Interior Department, where 90,000 use it. One big reason is price. Google charges $50 a year for each person using its product, a price that has not changed since it made its commercial debut, even though Google has added features. In 2012, for example, Google added the ability to work on a computer not connected to the Internet, as well as security and data management that comply with more stringent European standards. That made it much easier to sell the product to multinationals and companies in Europe. ... Microsoft says it does not yet see a threat. Google 'has not yet shown they are truly serious,' said Julia White, a general manager in Microsoft’s business division. 'From the outside, they are an advertising company.'"
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Google Challenging Microsoft For Business Software

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @07:19AM (#42393473)

    From Language: Microsoft Business Division Marketspeak

    "Google has not yet shown they are truly serious. From the outside, they are an advertising company."

    To Language: Reality

    "We have shit in our pants about this and aren't able to figure out how to avoid destruction, so we'll try to dismiss the threat. We always say the same about real threats. And worst, our bad dreams always turn up true (see previous dismissals about Linux, Apple, Facebook and Google before)"

    • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @02:01PM (#42396265)

      Hardly. I'm no MS fanboy, but Google's apps are a joke for businesses. The word processor and spreadsheet apps are not anywhere close to being something people want to use. My wife and I use it for sharing some spreadsheets and notes, its kind of like a tablet. Yea, its cool and all, but if you want to get real work done, its not what you use.

      More important, Google is removing features to top it off, and adding things that no one cares about. For example, killing proper active sync ... I'd give you an example of a feature they've added but I don't care about them so I can't even be bothered to remember.

      Dismissals of Apple we bad. Dismissals of Linux were reasonably accurate in the desktop space, though it does have a good run in the dirt cheap servers market until you factor in the number of companies held hostage by some douche admin. Facebook is a passing fad and its clear to any intelligent business on the planet. Thats not to say that those businesses aren't going to profit from that fad as it goes screaming by. Outside of search, Google isn't really owning anything. Android is a race to the bottom. Yes, they have a flagship device or 3 that almost doesn't suck, but its popularity isn't with decent devices, its with free phones that might as well be running some properitary OS as they are so weak and feable you really don't get any of the advantages Android brings to the table.

      Google may one day beat out Windows and Office, but it won't be with anything they currently have offered. I have a couple friends who are employed by Google and thus are Google fanboys, they rant on about how awesome it is and how you don't need offline apps or Microsoft/Apple and then every time we go somewhere we end up in a situation where they can't do something I can. My wife likes her Nexus 7, but she'd rather have an iPad mini. Yes this is anecdotal, but its pretty common outside the fanboy arena.

      Microsoft may be throwing some spin on it, but they are hardly going to disappear anytime soon due to Google's current offerings anymore than Apple's current offerings are going to put them out of business. Facebook is still irrelevant.

      • Google/Android has passed the 500 million active user mark. Granted that is tablet/smartphone marketplace, but that is something of an ownership. To an end user. Gmail/Gdocs/Gdrive/gmaps/ are all being offered for free and freely accessible on any device you want/need. To many people that is more than enough. You and your wife may need "power user tools" such as Excel, but the fact is that you are still using Google accounts and docs to share. Why are you using something free instead of buying Microsoft Se
  • by olau ( 314197 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @07:31AM (#42393509) Homepage

    Now gmail and to some extent also video chat in Google are pretty impressive. But the rest of the Google Apps are pretty pathetic feature-wise compared to MS Office. Except for collaboration features that just work out of the box.

    But the problem for Microsoft is that with more and more business communication never going through paper, many of these features are actually not terribly important compared to effortless collaboration, in fact their existence just make the products more complicated.

    An exception here might be Excel and the support for extending Word/Excel/Outlook - some people integrate their workflow toolchain into Office rather than the other way around. But still, a sizable chunk of Microsoft's market could probably switch and be happier.

    I guess that's why Microsoft is jumping on the cloud bandwagon too. Which strikes me as a smart idea, I do think that most organizations would probably prefer to continue to pay Microsoft, even if it's a bit more expensive.

    • by cheesybagel ( 670288 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @08:27AM (#42393707)
      Most of the new clients Microsoft has had recently came to it because of SharePoint. Google Apps collaboration features basically kill SharePoint. Yes it also kills Outlook and Exchange.
      • Re:SharePoint (Score:4, Informative)

        by lwriemen ( 763666 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @08:47AM (#42393797)

        I've never understood the point of SharePoint. Maybe I've never seen it implemented properly, but I don't see how a company could come up with a valid cost/benefit justification for it. OTOH, marketing promises and the lure of moving all IT to low-cost sites probably makes it very attractive to corporate heads; (often unmeasured) worker productivity be damned.

        • Re:SharePoint (Score:5, Insightful)

          by erp_consultant ( 2614861 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @09:47AM (#42394065)

          I've never seen it implemented properly either. From my experience I've seen document versions disappear and the whole checkin/checkout thing seems to get confused. So people end up doing a save as and giving the new version a different name than the previous one...defeating the purpose of SharePoint. It seems to be quite slow as well. Again, maybe this was just the way it was being managed but I'm still looking for a correctly implemented version.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            You've never seen it properly implemented? Are you kidding? Has *anyone* seen Sharepoint properly implemented? *Can* anyone implement Sharepoint properly? All positive I hear about Sharepoint is akin to: "Sharepoint is great because of X, Y and Z! Unfortunately you need a team bigger than your current development team just to do less than you currently do! Yay!" Of course, most of the people who push it are Microsoft crackheads...

            The success cases for Sharepoint are slow and fragile web sites. It is simply

    • Many companies TRY the cloud and TRY to integrate it into their workflow ... then realize they can't, since you can't customize the cloud to suit your needs, you take what they give you.

      You can integrate your workflow with Office, you can't with Google. You can't make Gmail plugins with any meaningful capabilities. You can't extend Docs in any way that matters.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @07:35AM (#42393519)

    Google 'has not yet shown they are truly serious,' said Julia White, a general manager in Microsoft’s business division. 'From the outside, they are an advertising company.'

    From: []

    Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows 8

    The Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows 8 allows developers to show ads in their apps. You can use your Windows 8 apps to make money by including ads from Microsoft Advertising. The Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows 8 along with Microsoft pubCenter enables you to create apps that:

    • Easily integrate text and banner ads into your apps and games.
    • Provide a money making solution that maximizes in-app advertising.
    • Provide ad targeting capabilities to deliver the most relevant ads to your users.
    • Seamlessly handle impression reporting.
    • Monitor your ad performance in real time.
  • by guyniraxn ( 1579409 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @08:45AM (#42393777)
    "We are not planning on doing anything until it is too late." said Julia White, a general manager in Microsoft’s business division.
  • Why is this news? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by romit_icarus ( 613431 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @08:54AM (#42393833) Journal
    There is absolutely nothing in the NYTimes story that points to any new development that justifies the headline. Google Apps has been chipping away at the incumbent MS Office for a few years now and, at best, could be building momentum. Like many "stories" released during the Christmas season, this most likely was one of those weak story ideas that had once been shelved and has come to the rescue of some lurking journalist.
    • I wonder if this whole story is veiled astroturfing. $50 per year per person is a good deal?! Compared to an online game like WoW, maybe, but not compared to free, and I suspect not compared to a support contract for that free software. Funny how the only producers mentioned by name were MS and Google. No other office suite, such as LibreOffice, was mentioned.

      As for collaboration, I don't know. Should distributed version control be built into a word processor app? Why not just have a plugin for git,

      • Google Apps collaboration is not just dvcs though. It's real time. And I've seen documents where the number of simultaneous users was in the double digits. That's a bit more interesting than a git plugin. Such a plugin would need to be committing, pushing, and pulling constantly. I guess it could be done and it would be totally awesome if it were... but then you need another plugin for shared document management that is as painless as Google Apps is (which has the added benefit of being able to make a docum
      • I hate to burst your bubble, but companies that stay in business don't use LibreOffice. They have to get work done, not worry about a political agenda and trivial 'cost'.

        Why do so many people fail to understand that the cost of MS Office is ALWAYS less than one weeks salary, therefor the cost is irrelevant as a business expense. Once you stop thinking about cost, theres no intelligent reason to use an inferior product like LibreOffice. If you don't realize its inferior then you don't actually function in

        • I often hear this contention about LibreOffice, yet somehow the people making such a claim never explain why it is inferior. Can you point to a list of useful features that MS Office has and LibreOffice lacks? Or critical flaws with LibreOffice that make it unready for "enterprise" use? I would really like to see such a list. If you cannot, why shouldn't I take you for one of the many shills that appear to infest this site, particularly after you slang my alleged lack of experience in the "real" busines

    • Just for context: Google Apps is an online groupware/user management application. Microsoft Office is a suite of office-oriented applications (word processor, spreadsheet, etc.) While Google offers a suite of office oriented applications (Google Docs), and like most Google tools, it can be managed with Google Apps, it's not really the same kinda thing. If I had to link equivalent products, I'd say Active Directory::Google Apps, Exchange/Outlook::GMail, Microsoft Office::Google Docs.

      In each case, the Goog

    • Google will try, but the fact it is not fully compatible with the mountain of Microsoft Office files generated out there over the years is why Google Apps will not seriously challenge Office--especially once Microsoft releases Office to run on the iOS platform (due some time in 2013).

    • There is absolutely nothing in the NYTimes story that points to any new development that justifies the headline.

      600,000 systems in the Veteran's Administration are being moved to Office 365 For Government. []

      U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Chooses Office 365 for its 600,000 Employees []

      Google touted its ISO 27001 certification for Google Apps for Business last week, which Office 365 for Government also qualifies for. Just like its predecessor, the Business Productivity Online Suite Federal, Microsoft's new service also supports a plethora of other certifications, including SAS70 Type II, the US Health Insurance Portability, Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the US Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). Microsoft also plans to support Criminal Justice Information Security policies soon. The service will soon offer support for IPv6 as well.

      The major difference between Microsoft's enterprise solution and this government cloud is that the government data lives on its own segregated infrastructure. Besides this --- and the additional certifications --- Microsoft's government solution includes virtually the same services as the enterprise version, including Exchange Online, Lync Online, SharePoint Online and Office Professional Plus. Given that Microsoft's enterprise solution is also now FISMA certified, this new service is mainly meant for agencies that have requirements beyond this certification.

      Microsoft Launches Office 365 For Government []

  • The other thing about Google Apps is that it's designed for Chrome and if it works on anything else that's nice but they don't care and it's Not Supported. (You can also use Chromium.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The other thing about Google Apps is that it's designed for Chrome and if it works on anything else that's nice but they don't care and it's Not Supported. (You can also use Chromium.)

      My company uses google docs, spreadsheets, and presentations on Firefox and IE. We told them our configuration, and we get support. I think you are full of shit.

  • It seems the market likes Google's chances of muddling through.
  • Yeah right

    First off do not tell 90% of corps who standardize on IE 6, 7, and 8 to go hell! Google docs is absolutely useless. Not even IE 8 which is the defecto standard for every single Intranet app in existence. I could see dropping IE 6 (that itself will cost business). Corps must use IE only as it is the only one with group policy, active directory, mass deployment, and a slow release cycle. Before the IE haters mod me down, ask yourselves why aren't you writing extensions to Firefox and Chrome for thes

    • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

      They don't have to support old IE versions - they're in the fortunate position of being in the early part of their growth curve. They don't have legacy installations to support, and will be kept busy for years to come supporting the customers whose infrastructure is a good fit for them - or those who are willing to install Chrome alongside their legacy IE browsers, where necessary.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The article is wrong and misleading. I work for Roche. Posting anon for obvious reasons.

    Roche is replacing Exchange Server with Google mail and calendar and the project hasn't even left the pilot phase. That's it. Everyone will still use MS Outlook although Google will be the new web mail interface. Everyone will still use MS Office. Everyone will still use SharePoint. Everyone will still use Lync for IM. Roche is only changing out the back end for mail and calendar.

    Genentech, which is a company owned by Ro

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann