Google's stealthy plan to get you off Microsoft Exchange

Google is going after Microsoft Exchange customers in a very innovative -- and perhaps sneaky -- way

Google continues its aggressive strategy to win over Microsoft Exchange customers with Gmail-based disaster recovery and business continuity service for enterprises running Exchange inside the firewall. Google Message Continuity replicates Exchange inside of Gmail, for those occasions when your Exchange server is down -- a situation that may be all too familiar to people in large enterprises. 

With this service, users can log into Gmail with their Exchange credentials, getting at their email, contacts, and calendar via the Gmail Web front-end interface. Many of us already use Gmail as a backup service for standard SMTP and IMAP accounts, providing Web-based access if we can't get to our standard email clients. The ability to support Exchange in this way means that many enterprise users have a choice in how to get at their email; a good percentage may end up preferring Gmail over Microsoft. Clearly, that's what Google is trying to accomplish.

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The number of enterprises using Exchange is vast. Google has had a comparable cloud-based solution for some time, but users already on Microsoft are reluctant to trade their Outlook clients for a Web browser. With its recent moves, Google is now betting that users will find the Google interface, which can be accessed anywhere from any computer, much more compelling. I certainly do.

Lately, the press has been kicking Google's Chrome OS around the block and waving bye-bye to Google Wave, but Google Message Continuity may be a stunt that pays dividends. I've always found Exchange to be closed and unforgiving, even its Web interface. Given the choice, I believe that most users will find the Google interface into Exchange more compelling and productive. Then, perhaps, they'll ask the ultimate question of whether they need Exchange at all.

This article, "Google's stealthy plan to get you off Microsoft Exchange," originallyappeared at InfoWorld.com.Read more of David Linthicum's CloudComputing blog and follow the latest developments in cloudcomputing at InfoWorld.com.

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