September 12, 2007 11:49 AM PDT

Microsoft swipes at Google Apps

Microsoft has launched an attack on Google in which it seeks to dissuade businesses from downloading Google Apps.

The attack came in a statement on Monday, the same day Google signed a deal with Capgemini to promote its office-productivity software among businesses.

Capgemini, a global consulting firm, is to offer desktop support and installation services to large corporations running Google Apps Premier Edition (GAPE), the premium version of Google's Web-based package. Google Apps includes a word processor, calendar and mail functions, and so is a direct rival to Microsoft Office.

In its statement, Microsoft laid out 10 questions it wanted users considering Google Apps to ask themselves.

"We believe competition is good for customers and the industry. That said, customers tell us that our solutions deliver the ease of use, reliability and security that enterprises need," the statement began. It then asked questions such as: "Google's apps only work if an enterprise has no power users, employees are always online, enterprises haven't built custom Office apps--doesn't this equal a very small percentage of global information workers today?"

Another one read: "Google touts having enterprise-level customers but how many 'users' of their applications truly exist within the enterprise?" A further one questioned Google's commitment to Google Apps, asking: "Their enterprise focus and now apps exist on the very fringe, and in combination with other fringe services only account for 1 percent of the company's revenue. What happens if Google executes poorly? Do they shut (them) down given it will (affect) them in a minimal and short-term way? Should customers trust that this won't happen?"

Microsoft's statement poured scorn on Google's "perpetual beta" ethos, which sees its software upgraded on a relatively continual basis, rather than upgrades appearing in official releases. "With Google Apps in perpetual beta and Google controlling when, and if, they roll out specific features and functionality, customers have minimal, if any, control over the timing of product rollouts and features."

And the statement asked: "Google has a history of releasing incomplete products, calling them beta software, and issuing updates on a 'known only to Google' schedule--this flies in the face of what enterprises want and need in their technology partners--what is Google doing that indicates they are in lock step with customer needs?"

Ovum analyst David Bradshaw told CNET sister site ZDNet UK that the missive showed "Microsoft is paying (Google) the second most sincere form of compliment, in treating them as a serious rival."

Bradshaw described Microsoft's allegations that Google released incomplete products with no clear update schedule as being "at best, cheeky."

He suggested that the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model of updates had been proved successful by "Clearly they are taking advantage of the platform to change things when they need to, when it's ready," said Bradshaw. "They don't have to wait until the end of the year or whenever--all that has changed. In a sense, SaaS enables continual improvement."

Bradshaw added that, as Microsoft itself was moving into the hosted-service market with Office Live Meeting and its upcoming customer relationship management play, there might be "people in Microsoft who will strongly object to" the viewpoints in the statement.

Google refused to comment on the statement.

David Meyer reported for ZDNet UK in London.

See more CNET content tagged:
Google Apps, Capgemini, enterprise, software-as-a-service, Google Inc.


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They Doth Protest Too Much
Depending on the day, Microsoft either says that open source
efforts aren't a threat or they launch several FUD cruise missiles out
of their silos.
Posted by ppgreat (1128 comments )
Reply Link Flag
GOOGLE has a history of releasing incomplete products?
Hello pot, meet kettle. Microsoft is famous for releasing new products that "aren't ready for prime time".

"With Google Apps in perpetual beta and Google controlling when, and if, they roll out specific features and functionality, customers have minimal, if any, control over the timing of product rollouts and features."

Right. Businesses need to be able to rely on new product schedules, like Vista. Which was promised to be release in 2004, then 2005, then 2006, ...

Sounds to me like Google has Microsoft scared to death.

I like Google Apps but didn't think they were all that mature. Apparently Microsoft thinks they are.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pot calling the kettle black
Technically, pot and kettle have already met. This is more a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Releasing them [products] on a schedule known only to Google

And they say that like it's a bad thing, like something they would NEVER do. Ummm SQL Server, Longhorn, Vista service pack? Wow, ol' Stevie Balmer has a pair, doesn't he?
Posted by flitcraft33 (31 comments )
Link Flag
Why don't they just get it over with
And just add a 'thou shalt not use Google apps' in their already draconian EULA?
Posted by The_Decider (3097 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft = IBM 1988
They are going down!
And they know it..

Who are they to swipe an anyone?
Posted by MaLvaDo39 (365 comments )
Reply Link Flag
In 1988 IBM said all of these things about MS as well. Not that they arent true, just not as relevant as MS thinks.

we started developing on applications on PCs that formerly ran on System/34.Scared IBM then too.
Posted by gggg sssss (2285 comments )
Link Flag
Google Apps' time is coming
I love Google, their software is excellent, that said is google apps ready for enterprise use? No (especialy the spreadsheet app), not really, it is EXCELLENT software for an Ajax based suite but it has a long way to go before it has the functionality and responsiveness most enterprises will demand in an office suite. I can see them becoming powerful in the future and threatening MS Office (hence MS's apparent fear of them). Furthermore, is MS Office really ready to be an enterprise suite? Many would say yes because it is the primary enterprise suite used globally but that seems to be more because of a lack of unique competitors then because its really that good. MS Office is still bug encrusted and a usability nightmare. Overall I don't think there are any suites on the market today that truly represent what an enterprise suite should be. But they are all coming along, MS Office isn't as bad as it used to be, iWork has taken some large steps of late although its still lacking in features, Google apps is still in infantsy but works excellent, Open office is just... no... and rumors have surfaced about an Adobe Office suite in the works, I think all this competition will finally spur some excellent office suite innovation in the next few years.
Posted by themortalgod (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft is tomorrow's Commodore
By far the most outrageous and hypocritical statement is this:

"What happens if Google executes poorly? Do they shut them down given it will affect them in a minimal and short-term way?"

Hello, business people are also the consumers Microsoft left out in the cold on several failed ventures.
Posted by karmapoints (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Somewhat disingenuous
With Microsoft's interest in thin clients themselves, and moving
their software into server/client based systems, it seems they
are feeling some heat with competition. Today's announcement
from IBM that they are throwing significant resources behind the
ODF movement, there is even more reason to believe that the
future is bright for the user when it comes to interoperable
office-style tools. I expect Microsoft will be the one that will be
forced to conform and their old tactics of 'embrace and extend'
are just not up to the scale required for the future direction in
office apps. I don't really believe Google will be the monopoly
player; but I do think that with their leverage and the backing
IBM is lending to the ODF movement, we are seeing a 'perfect
storm' brewing that will bring about some tremendous shifts in
how business communications and documentation is going to
move forward.
Posted by macalterego (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The evil empire of computing, microsoft, has again deployed its well honed anti-competitor strategy of ridicule &gt; assimilate &gt; dominate. We are now in the "ridicule" phase for hosted office apps. Microsoft's response insults the intelligence of its customers and prospects. As long as microsoft continues to lie and cheat with this kind of FUD, it will delude its employees to self-perpetuate an evil empire.
Posted by aa2006 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Competition is good for all companies
Google needs to remember where it came from as well. They are becoming arrogant and tone deaf far faster than MS, IBM or any other originally decent company.

Now that is addressed: It is good that MS has competition - maybe they will improve their customer support area. Maybe they will remember customers are the ones who purchase products and thus listen when the customer says: you have taken away the productivity in lieu of 'pretty'. Maybe they will stop ramrodding configurations the customers do not want to re-learn in the midst of performing their work. Maybe they will focus on product improvement with productivity in mind rather than aesthetics or brand new configurations/products. Maybe they will stop dumbing down applications as a bandaid fix and work on applications that truly perform well.
That is how they will continue forward rather than falling behind - we shall see if they continue the course of other large companies or pave a new road of success.
Posted by Dolphie1 (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
google apps on the very fringe?
"Their enterprise focus and now apps exist on the very fringe, and in combination with other fringe services only account for 1 percent of the company's revenue"
What is the "fringe'-ness coefficient of any and all MSN products?
Posted by Turanga M. Leela (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I think the people at Microsoft miss the point
Hang on a sec gang ... Google's "beta-version" and "constant update" philosophy DO NOT MATTER to the enterprise level user/manager. The whole point of the thing is that GOOGLE is responsible for updates/features etc. on their own servers. The features just "pop up" as available the next time you use them and they seem to be very good at "back-version compatibility".
Posted by evilcountfostro (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I see...
&gt; "With Google Apps in perpetual beta and Google
&gt; controlling when, and if, they roll out specific
&gt; features and functionality, customers have
&gt; minimal, if any, control over the timing of
&gt; product rollouts and features."

Say what?!?!? As opposed to the way Microsoft gives their customers control over the timing of product rollouts and features??

As swipes go, I'd rate that attempt a "WHOOSH."
Posted by Jim Harmon (329 comments )
Reply Link Flag
In an attempt to hinder, they only help
True competition in the US software industry is finally here. I couldn't be happier!
Posted by joepwro (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I think MS's point was...
..that users of MS Office can choose to install an update or new version if they wish or continue to use an older version. With Google Apps, you always get Google's newest version.

I don't see this as a negative, but then again, I'm not trying to protect the cash-cow that MS Office is.
Posted by ScottMo (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Read the Ts and Cs 1st!
Make Sure You Read the Fine Print before
making a Career (or Income) Limiting Move
- to see why see the article at <a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a> that I wrote some months ago on the topic.

Great tool, great concept, BUT it has a big downside for the unwary. It's not as plain sailing as many would like to believe.

If you want to share your IP with the rest of the world and have it all over servers everywhere, go for it, but those of us that make a living out of IP matters, it's a real issue.

It's an even bigger issue if you want to have commercial secrets and decide to collaborate using Google Apps, the Ts and Cs will kill you, and not with laughter!

Are you aware that for anything you load up into Google Apps you immediately grant a license to Google to use in any way they so choose? Read their fine print.

Whilst you might own the IP, you are also assigning them rights to it as well!

Is that what you had in mind for confidential documents, spreadsheets, presentations etc?

I suspect not.

Use Google Apps with caution!
Posted by PCProfile (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft = Fear
I love seeing Microsuck sweat. :)
Posted by TBolt (70 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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