Since we announced that the beta of Office 2010 has been downloaded by over 5 million times, it's been a busy week for the press. Despite this impressive milestone, which is equivalent to every man, woman and child in the city limits of both Paris and Los Angeles electing to go download a copy in the last few months, most of the articles (WSJ, Silicon Alley, et al) have pivoted around Google's entrance into the productivity market and the challenge to Microsoft Office.
So I did read with great interest two more articles which I think serve as a good alternate reads. The first article was Paul Thurott's, The Enduring Value of Microsoft Office, the second was Doug Henschen's InformationWeek interview of Kurt Delbene , 'We'll Beat Google In Cloud' . What's interesting is that both articles touch upon a common theme: Microsoft gets productivity. (my paraphrase)
It's simply what we do. With every release, we consistently raise the bar for productivity tools. Maybe we don't wear innovation on our sleeves enough. I believe it's because we think it's sort of expected if you are a leader. Along with leadership comes responsibility to continuously innovate your product offering. Exchange 2010's dramatic perf improvements; Office's OneNote or Social Connector ; SharePoint's Visio services or BI via PowerPivot are my favorite data points for innovation.
So while it's easy for me to agree with Paul or Kurt, I thought it might be more interesting to surface testimonials from customers of all sizes who either left Google Apps or considered it but said 'no' because, well…it's not Microsoft Office/Exchange/SharePoint.
"Frankly, the Google value proposition is cost based, and once you take that away, what's left?" – Rexel, Electrical Supplier, 30,000 employees.
"Many of the things you normally expect to be able to do at an enterprise IT management level were not available with Google Apps—things like the ability to easily manage groups and users." – Vinci, Construction Group, 4,000 employees.
"The Google applications just weren't robust enough to compete with Office Outlook functionality," – James Nolan Law Office, Legal Firm, 4 employees.
"Google Apps is not an enterprise-class solution. It's a consumer solution, and we did not want to risk our business on it." – Credit Immobilier de France, Banking, 3,500 employees.
"Google Apps is a square peg into a round hole" – Datatune, Software firm, 25 employees.
"Employees had difficulties with calendars and e-mail folders. Administrators and end users trying to get the services to work properly faced a steep learning curve, and there were a lot of help-desk calls." (sic Google Apps) – WJ Bradley, Banking, 500 employees.
There are more but you get the point.
As we get closer to the release of Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 to the market, I hope the merits of the software will speak for itself and you will take the headlines with a grain of salt.