Google, the GSA and the Competition

Today, the General
Services Administration made the decision to replace
several different versions of IBM's Lotus Notes and Domino software with Google for its own email.  While we are disappointed we will not have
the opportunity to meet the GSA's internal messaging needs, we will continue to
serve its productivity needs through the familiar experience of Microsoft
Office and we look forward to understanding more about GSA's selection criteria
- especially around security and architecture. 
We are also gratified so many state and local governments continue to
choose Microsoft.   There are clear
reasons behind these choices. 

Adding Random Functionality is not Really Adding Functionality

Recently, Google has
added additional functionality to its productivity applications in
an effort to bolster them.  While
it's not clear to us how useful business customers will find applications such
as Picasa Web Albums, Google Voice and
Adwords, some of our customers don't
seem to be impressed with the value they receive from Google.  Business such as WinWire, Bradshaw
and Weil
, Vinci and others
have all been consistent in their message: 
Google cannot meet their


You have to meet the Height Requirement to Ride in the Enterprise

There's no doubt that businesses are talking to Google, and hearing
their pitch, but despite all the talk, Google can't avoid the fact that often
times they cannot meet basic requirements. For instance, in California, the
state determined that Google couldn't meet many of their basic requirements
around functionality and security.  Rather than address deficiencies in
their product by developing a more robust set of productivity tools, Google
cried foul instead of
addressing these basic needs

Constraints such as inadequate product support, failure to provide a
roadmap, poor interoperability with other line of business applications and
limited functionality are all reasons why public sector organizations such the
State of Minnesota and New York City have said "no thanks" to what Google is offering.  In a Wall
Street Journal

story on the NYC implementation, a NYC official reinforced this point:

"We have a relationship with
Google. We certainly explored what they could bring to the table with respect
to offering opportunities for our workforce," said Carole Post, commissioner of
Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications. But
Microsoft's proposed package "both from a cost perspective as well as the suite
of tools and opportunities was a more compelling opportunity
," she said.

It's no secret
that large public sector organizations have consistently valued Microsoft's
cloud offerings not only because of our deep understanding of enterprise
organizations, but also for their ease of use, security and privacy
capabilities.  Regardless of how organizations
are thinking about the cloud, Microsoft provides a choice for their
productivity needs; on premises, in the cloud or as a hosted solution.  Google does not offer any such choice


Clearly, the GSA news underscores how robust competition is today, not
only between Microsoft and Google, but also Cisco, IBM, VMWare and many
others.  Competition is good for our customers, our business, and the
industry.  It drives us to deliver our very best and use every day to
continue earning the trust of the 750M people who use Office today.

Comments (70)

  1. Anonymous says:


    If you ever get a chance, try the free Exchange Online Trial.  I would love to hear how your experience with our cloud services compares to Google.  We're always looking for feedback both positive and negative to make our software and customer experience better.

  2. Anonymous says: – I just put up some examples from the 60 or so consumer focused applications Google added. While I agree that Ad Words would be useful for ads for your company on the Internet, how useful is adding this as an application for your internal users to access?  Maybe there is a new trend of adding paid advertising to Intranet sites that I missed 🙂  Regardless, your point is well taken.

    My examples were just a few from the 60 or so CONSUMER applications that Google added to their business offering.  From what I hear from customers, these new additions just make their corporate identity work in the consumer application so it's easier identity federation.  Plus, none of these apps are supported or are part of your Google Apps SLA.  So you get 60 new apps with no support and SLA. . .

    Keep the comments coming.  Happy to address as many as I can.

  3. Bob Hyatt says:

    Good response under the circumstances. At least you didn't blame the customer or cry unfair like Google does when it loses.

  4. says:

    "While it's not clear to us how useful business customers will find applications such as Picasa Web Albums…"

    Might be useful when putting a collection of company holiday photos on the Intranet. There are other options, yes, but having this as an option is nice.

    "…Google Voice…"

    You're right. This one isn't quite there yet. It might be nice for a small business, but not an enterprise. At least, not yet, in its current form.

    "…and Adwords."

    I hope this was just a joke. You don't know how useful business customers would find advertising on the most used search engine?

  5. Andre Da Costa says:

    I wouldn't be surprised by next year you hear the GSA is disappointed with the experience and will be moving to Office 365 immediately.

  6. thomas says:

    We had too much difficulty using Exchange for our small business. In addition, the costs associated with maintaining a server with overly burdensome.  We made the switch to Google Apps a year ago and couldn't be happier.  Greater access of use (especially since we are pretty mobile) and have saved nearly $14,000 annually.   We still do, however, user MS Office suite products (with the exception of OneNote – Evernote is a FAR superior product).  

    I enjoy seeing the competitive forces work though!  

  7. RAS4 says:

    It seems odd Microsoft is claiming superiority with their cloud services when since it is Microsoft who is scrambling to play catch up with Google. Microsoft would not be doing any of these web-based solutions if it wasn't for the innovations Google produced and the obvious growing demand for it in the marketplace.

  8. Used to Work in Gov says:

    Microsoft software wins in government contracts because it's the only thing the poorly-trained IT staffs know how to support.

  9. O. Fortuna says:

    the wheel of fortune keeps on spinning. get in and get out while the getting's good.

    microsoft lost the war ten years ago, it just doesn't know it yet.…/Sour_grapes

  10. charles says:

    After two decades of dominance, this blog post is just proof of Microsoft's fear that Google taking away enterprise and government marketshare.  If Microsoft is so superior, then why respond to Google wins in the press?  Is it because they are starting to lose ground to Google?  The market decides whose products win.  The fact that MS's product management has launched a smear campaign against Google only makes it clear that they have identified a real contender.  Next MS renewal it's time for some real competition — finally!

  11. says:


    Thank you for responding. It is true that Google's announcement of "adding new apps" to Google Apps was a bit exaggerated, since these were applications which have always existed that anyone could have used their own account to access.

    However, significance (and the reasoning) of this move isn't about giving businesses access to new applications to use in the workplace. The reality of it is, many people were using their personal email addresses (usually a Gmail address) to access these services from within the office. If that office happened to use Google Apps, employees would find themselves logging out of their personal account, then back into their Google Apps account, then back into their personal account, depending on which service they wished to use.

    This was an inconvenience to say the least.

    So, there are two solutions to this. The first is to allow a person to be signed into any service using multiple accounts simultaneously, switching easily between accounts. The second is to give the Google Apps accounts the ability to login to these services as well.

    So, both of these are being worked on and obviously the ability to login to any Google service using a Google Apps account rolled out of the gates first.

    The other significant aspect is that System Admins can control which apps employees can or cannot see or login to using their Google Apps account. So, in a sense, what has been done is the entire ecosystem of Google-based applications has been replicated, giving each Google Apps admin the ability to tweak this ecosystem, giving or taking away various services to streamline things.

    So, obviously you grabbed some random examples and chose poor examples. That's understandable. Where you missed the boat is thinking that it had anything to do with, say, using AdWords to put ads on an Intranet. This isn't what it's about at all. The point is to give the users who are already logged into the Google cloud using a Google Apps account the ability to login to the AdWords interface with that same account, rather than a separate account, then the ability for admins to control which employees have access. Again, the significance of this move isn't "why would people use this in a company?" The reality is, people already were. They were just doing so unofficially on personal accounts. Bringing this into the Google Apps umbrella gives more control for the enterprise and a better experience for the employees.

  12. Deralaand says:

    I could only hope for some google integration at my company. We currently use a mashup of MS, Lotus NOTES,  SAP and an intranet that offers useless search capabilities.

  13. Tom H says:

    The company that I work for uses Office for it's thousands of workstations. All of the machines are Windows XP, and most are using IE6. This is probably typical for a lot of enterprise customers. They are not switching to Google for the same reason they are not upgrading the OS and much of the software: the workload involved and an ingrained fear of any kind of change. They are also overemphasizing the short-term costs and underestimating the long-term savings. So when I hear the testimonials of MSFTs loyal customers saying Google doesn't meet their needs, I think some of it is coming from this same mindset.

  14. @JoeTierney says:

    You'd enable AdWords for the marketing department. It's odd to point to the availability of 60 additional applications at no cost as a negative event…

    As a federal agency perhaps the GSA took Google Apps' FISMA certification into account and BPOS' lack there of or perhaps they didn't consider 4 year old hosted server products as very innovative.  

    It was reported that New York and Minnesota did not go out to competitive bid. Is this incorrect? Also wouldn't New York be on the "dedicated" platform of BPOS/Office365? A single-tenant stack is not cloud computing, it's ASP hosting.  

    The current version of BPOS runs the 2007 server products – it's almost 2011. By the time Office 365 comes out on the 2010 server products, 2011 will be half way over. Will customers have to wait another 4 years for the next upgrade? Why can't Microsoft run large organizations in a multi-tenant environment? That doesn't sound like a very scalable environment. Why are you still building on-premise server products first and then providing watered down hosted versions as innovation?

    You should look into the trend known as consumerization. This should clarify why CONSUMERS are people and they expect the solutions they use at work to be at least as powerful, accessible and easy to use as the applications they use at home. People are becoming more confident in their knowledge and expectations of how technology should work. They're going to use Google Sites with or without their IT department's help because they know they shouldn't have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars or wait 6 months to share videos or leverage dynamic team sites.

    It would be great to see competition beyond FUD and cloud-washing. The easiest thing to do on Office Live is buy a copy of Office 2010.

    There is hope, according to Don Dodge Google is hiring…

  15. Phil Evans says:

    Sorry, but this is just the *wrong* type of messaging for someone supposedly in a superior position.  Good prize-fighters 'cuss the opposition before the fight by way of taunts and insults, then afterwards nod in admiration and move on.  This does neither, Microsoft see the world as its enemy and then ticks it off afterwards.  So it will be with Office and Linux in the coming 2 years.

    All signs of an organisation akin to a limping animal, woulded and dangerous.

    Good luck.

  16. Leo Jacob says:

    Microsoft lost me and my company years ago. I shudder to realize that so many companies are stuck with 1990-era IT departments. Lotus? Exchange? Are you kidding me? Those are painful memories, no thank you. I'll stick with Google and focus on building my business.

    Regarding Microsoft attempts at cloud services: It's a start, and I congratulate them. But why the hell would I use MS for my cloud services when Google is decades ahead?

  17. Rob says:

    Microsoft does complain.  They can't beat Google at search and possibly never will no matter how many times MSN search is renamed, so they file complaints to governments about a supposed monopoly on search that has never been actually proven.

    Microsoft has been playing dirty pool for decades and will continue to do so, just in the background now.

  18. Frank Paolino says:

    I agree with on-premise solutions. When a major hack of one of these cloud solutions occurs and the documents are posted on Wikileaks or somewhere public, it will cause some retrenchment… as for me, I still prefer on-premise Lotus Notes and the apps I get from

  19. Andy Hofer says:

    I agree with the last poster… After more than 30 years as a programmer, working up from PCs through LANs, to the internet, web and database programming since the early 1990's the whole cloud concept is the WORST idea I've ever seen. Virtualization of corporate-owned servers has saved money while sapping the speed and strength of web/database applications, and now the cloud will be the single worst risk for corporate computing ever conceived. Even my web apps can all run on a SINGLE disconnected box in the event of an emergency, like when the terrorists finally figure out how to bring down the internet throughout the civilized world. When a global internet outage takes weeks to repair, I can't imagine how many businesses and governments will collapse as their priceless, confidential data either evaporates into the cloud, never to be seen again, or is distributed to anyone who wants it, free of charge.

  20. welletts says:

    xD Oh, This is Gold!

    ….Where's hAL in all this?  or is he only paid to champion Microsoft's cause on non-MS astroturf??

  21. jpthsd says:

    @jake….where did you get the info Google Cloud having a decade ahead? How old is the Google? The cloud services have been around few years ….

    In 2002, I was interviewed by Google – they were still in an open studio(s), developers were cornering their own tent to work on the code and I discarded their offering (my bad that I could have been millionaire now..) – do you think they had their own cloud running in those open-garage-studio type like that and I'm talking July 2002 Google was still recruiting people…

    However, what you were saying isn't true – Google Cloud is not "decade" – you must be fair by giving the comment – anyway – it's yet to know who's currently winners in Cloud until you try yourself Microsoft Cloud service…but if you're happy with what you have now, why you should try another…

    What is in the hype I think – whether or not Google Cloud/its application are corporate-ready or not while comparing to Microsoft's new cloud that they pushed their corporate-ready (more than the decade and I'm wondering Google wasn't even born at that time) – it means Microsoft has CORPORATE-READY CLOUD.

  22. John McMasters says:

    I agree Microsoft is much more mature in the Enterprise than Google.  What Google has over MS is simplisity, ease of use, and User level services.  Yes there are alot of development going on in the Non-Microsoftr world which is good and bad.  As long as an Agency hires a top notch experienced integrator for either system.

    Microsoft and Google better learn to play nice together because they are both around for a long time.  Sorry MS Googlew is not going away.

    Signed a Microsoft Engineer and lover.

  23. Bastien says:

    @John :

    "Microsoft and Google better learn to play nice together because they are both around for a long time.  Sorry MS Googlew is not going away."

    Not according to Thom 🙂…/Microsoft_exec_says_Google_is_failing_in_the_enterprise

  24. Email's down says:

    "It's a message all too familiar to companies using Microsoft's Exchange Server and Outlook email system. Microsoft Exchange users face an average of 2.5 hours of email outages a month, according to an IT survey conducted by the Radicati Group cited by Microsoft  rival Google Google's solution is the new Google Message Continuity, a low-cost backup solution for Exchange organizations, based on the search giant's Gmail infrastructure. "

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