We know there is increasing competition for cloud-based services. But one of the biggest competitions -- between Google (news, site) and Microsoft (news, site) -- just got a little more interesting when a Microsoft written Hosted Services Comparison Whitepaper crossed our paths. Do you know which set of cloud-services is better? Microsoft thinks they do.

Selling BPOS

Microsoft really thinks their hosted suite of services, BPOS -- Business Productivity Online Suite -- is better than Google Apps Premier Edition. So much so that they have produced a whitepaper evaluating the two suites on service capabilities, security, support, cost and more.

MS_BPOS.jpg

Some key points the whitepaper makes:

  • Google does not provide full email and calendaring capabilities in comparison to MS Outlook. And while Google can synchronize with Outlook Calendar, it's not a full synchronization -- it doesn't include tasks, notes, follow-up flag dates, distribution lists and more.
  •  The offline capabilities are limited in Google Apps. You can't create new documents, spreadsheets or presentations and can only edit documents offline. That being said, to do it with BPOS, it is assumed you have MS Office in house. At least with Google Apps, the actual tools are a part of the service.
  • Microsoft offers both on-premise and hosted versions of their services. As a result, they can support a hybrid deployment model. Google is a web-based suite and direct integration an organization's on premise infrastructure isn't an option.

Other areas evaluated include migration to the hosted service, service level agreements and costs related to downtime.

Microsoft talks about the removal of Google's beta tag from some of their services and the constant updates to capability being unpredictable, while BPOS has regularly scheduled 90 day updates. We're not sure Google's "unscheduled" updates are a bad thing (maybe Google Buzz is an exception). Sometimes it's nice to get introduced to new capabilities one thing at a time.

Training concerns related to Google's web-based interfaces and the lack of full capabilities are discussed. We don't fully get this one. Google's interfaces are very similar to Microsoft's and Google says the most used features are implemented. Think about it - how much of Microsoft Word's features do you  actually use?.

The whitepaper comparison is an interesting read. But you need to read remembering it is written to sell BPOS over Google Apps, so you expect it to be strongly in favor of Microsoft.

Of course Microsoft provides some sage advice at the end of the whitepaper:

  • Define a Services Strategy
  • Bring groups together to ensure all needs are assessed
  • Conduct a migration design session
  • Select Vendors Objectively
  • Start Small and Weigh the Benefits

Here's the Hosted Services Comparison Whitepaper, and here's a two page summary if you aren't interested in the details.

Get your Free Assessment for BPOS

Along with the whitepaper came the offer for a free assessment of your environment (a US$ 1000 value potentially). Unfortunately it was a time limited offer for the first 100 respondents that ended February 27th. At least we think it ended. If you click the link provided, it still works, which means either 100 people didn't take the offer, or they've extended it. If you are interested, give it a try.