The Microsoft World Partner Conference was very Office 365 oriented this year. Microsoft have been in for a lot of criticism over the last few years with the rise and rise of Google Apps. Some have suggested that Google Apps could destroy Microsoft’s dominance of the Office software market. Much of this has been hot air put out by Microsoft’s detractors but the threat has certainly been very real. A Microsoft Office killer however is an extremely audacious claim.
Microsoft have had privacy and securit6y at the top of their agenda throughout, although the recent definition of the Patriot Act must have been a blow. The ace up their sleeve was always familiarity such is MS Office’s domination in the sector, any ‘new’ products require a large amount of user training which is always costly. BPOS has never quite achieved in the way that Microsoft must have hoped and thus the launch of Office 365, which has definitely caused a buzz, marks a new dawn in their battle against Google.
There is a lot of posturing from both sides and neither are exactly 100% fair about the other. As an aside, it is very interesting that as I subscribe to Google Alerts on ‘Cloud Email’ I have not received any press releases or blogs on Office 365. I’m not sure exactly why this is – I wrote a piece in the Guardian Online which generated thousands of hits for Cloud Hypermarket and yet it was a no show on Google Alerts.
At the WPC Kevin Turner (Chief Operating Officer), in response to claims that Google was going to wipe out Office "Well, guess what, it hasn't happened," he said. "And more importantly... Office 365 is to Google Apps as Xbox 360 is to Pong." He also went on to describe Office 365 as a Google butt-kicker. There’s no veil then that suggests this war is abating or in any way a secret.
Being English, I probably wouldn’t describe anything as a ‘butt kicker’ but I understand the sentiment. Turner also went on to suggest that Google may well be digging its own grave due to the amount of negative publicity they have been generating on issues such as privacy. The commercial set up of Microsoft dictates that they are not an advertising and data extraction/research company like Google. The very idea of a marketing company hosting all of your mail is certainly not going to appeal to all – especially as many of us would agree that the amount of spam, marketing calls and junk mail is already sky high.