Office 365 vs. Google Apps: The InfoWorld review
With Office 365 now available in final form, here's what you need to know to decide if Office 365 or Google Apps (or neither) is right for your organizationFollow @woodyleonhard
Google Apps outages, by contrast, are generally infrequent and short-lived. Even the tiniest disruption of service reliably appears on the Apps Status Dashboard.
It remains to be seen if Microsoft's reliability will improve with this all-new system.
Conclusion: Get onto my cloud
Right now, if your company is seriously looking at cloud services for your productivity applications, you have at least three general choices.
First, you might consider using one of the many hosted service providers. With Office 365 and Google Apps for Business hogging the spotlight, customers may forget that hosted servers and services are still running strong. Many hosted service providers offer individualized support and products, either in competition with or in support of Office 365 -- and several of them don't hesitate to recommend and help with Google Apps, if the situation's right. Don't overlook the little guys. They work for you, not the giant companies.
Second, you can sign up for Google Apps for Business. It's relatively easy to sign up and test Google Apps, in no small part because there are few admin functions.
Third, you can contact Microsoft and ask how much it will cost to move to Office 365. That isn't a trivial question, particularly if you already have licenses for any of the server products or for Office 2010. Software Assurance furthers complicate matters, and if you're in the Home Use Program, better get your accountant in on the discussion.
When you look at the bucks and the benefits, there's one factor that will hit you right across the pocketbook: Microsoft has priced Office 365 so that if you need Office 2010 licenses it isn't outrageously expensive -- at least, not by Microsoft standards. Microsoft doesn't publish Volume License prices, but the Office 365 "E3" option, which includes a full license for Office 2010 Pro Plus, runs $288 per person per year.
As far as being able to reduce admin headcount, if you move your servers to Microsoft's cloud, that's a very contentious issue. InfoWorld's J. Peter Bruzzese published a detailed look at the question back in March and came to the conclusion that Exchange admins, in particular, need to broaden their skills.
Nonetheless, in comparison with a move to Google Apps, the bottom line is that Microsoft's cloud represents a relatively modest transition from existing technologies. Google's cloud, by contrast, amounts to a complete break from the past. For companies that seek the benefits of the cloud without dramatic change, Office 365 is the obvious choice. For companies willing to abandon familiar features and technologies for much lower cost and administrative overhead, Google has a solution ready and waiting.
It's a whole new ball game. Whether your company decides to go with Office 365, Google Apps, or a hosted service provider -- even if you keep all of your servers locked in-house or decide that you don't need a server at all -- there are many more options today than there were a month ago. The cloud beckons.
This story, "Office 365 vs. Google Apps: The InfoWorld review," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.
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