blog Arch-rivals Microsoft and Google have been trading blows in the office productivity and collaboration space in Australia for a while now. With the popularity of IBM’s offerings gradually falling away, Google, with its Apps and Gmail products, has emerged as the main rival to Microsoft’s dominant Office and Outlook/Exchange ecosystem. Normally the pair are fairly polite about their rivalry, with each preferring to hype up the value of their own products and detailing new customers without mentioning the competition. But now Microsoft has gotten a little bit, well, aggressive in its Office 365 push in Australia, producing an entire local case study which appears designed to demonstrate how unsuitable Gmail in particular is for its purpose.
The case study, published in full online, details the experiences of A.P. Eagers, a sizable automotive retailer based in Brisbane. Initially the company had been looking to shift off an in-house Exchange 2003 instance and onto Gmail. However, Microsoft appears to have persuaded it otherwise. Some sample paragraphs:
“A.P. Eagers also had concerns about the ongoing availability of some of the features that the test group was using. In order to obtain all of the functionality the company was looking for in an enterprise email system, test users relied on a number of Google Mail Labs, which are experimental new features that Google engineers are working on. While the Labs provided needed features, there was no guarantee that those features would be available in the future. “When we looked at the support agreement, it covered only the base product, with no support for any of the Labs, or any guarantee they would be maintained, and we were using a number of them. So from a purely contractual standpoint, the product itself was below the standard that we required. This reduced our confidence in the solution.”
A.P. Eagers was also worried about the change management requirements to get all of its employees working successfully on Google Mail, at the productivity levels that they had with the existing Exchange Server 2003 system. The company recognized that this would require extensive hands-on training from the partner and from Google. Some members of the evaluation team required more than a day of one-on-one training, and when A.P. Eagers calculated the effort required to train the rest of the business, they saw that the requirements would be massive in terms of time and resources.”
The entire case study is scorching towards Gmail, picking apart the Google offering on a variety of fronts, and while it obviously details the views of the customer concerned, A.P. Eagers, it’s not hard to view the retailer’s comments as a proxy for Microsoft’s own concerns with Google Apps and all it represents. In turn, if Microsoft Australia is willing to get stuck into Google this hard, it’s hard not to feel that Google must be making some mileage with its enterprise products in Australia. And if the slew of case studies issued by Google Australia and published by other media outlets recently is any indication (Fire & Rescue NSW, Elders Real Estate, Specsavers, Woolworths, Fairfax), the company must indeed making some headway. Sounds like game on.