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The battle between Google and Microsoft over cloud office suites is heating up again

Google vs Microsoft

In the Office 365 vs. Google Apps arena, specifically, the battle is pitched and nasty.

During last week’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Houston, Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner reiterated something he said at the previous year’s partner conference: That Microsoft and partners should not lose a single potential Office 365 sale to Google. (A year ago, Turner even offered to personally help and intervene if need be.)

This year, there were a number of public sessions for the 14,000 or so WPC attendees about selling Office 365. And there seemingly was at least one (though likely more) private one. The “Winning with Office 365 Every Time: Resources and Approach” — despite the fact it was clearly marked “Do Not Publish,” somehow made it onto Microsoft’s Web site.

Microsoft has been telling its partners that there’s no way they should lose a single Office 365 sale to Google. What vendor could seriously make that argument? You win some and lose some. At Microsoft’s recent partner conference numerous sessions were devoted to selling Office 365 against Google Apps.

For Microsoft, losing Office 365 deals to Google Apps is losing the platform. Simply put, it’s much harder to win lost customers over again than to keep them in the first place. Microsoft is selling value over price, noting security concerns and compliance as well as flexibility over Google Apps.

The reasons Microsoft loses to Google, according to Therese Connor, Office 365 Senior Product Marketing Manager, revolve around reasons such as the fact that many Exchange and Office customers are running very old versions of these products, making it easy for Google to swoop in and offer something that looks significantly better, feature-wise. Microsoft’s partners need to prevent Google from setting the conversation by being proactive and getting in there first, said Connor.

Connor noted that it can be very costly for Microsoft to lose out to Google and then try to re-win the deal. She acknowledged that “in some instances, we had to buy out the contract” in order to regain a key customer from Google.

Microsoft is advising its partners to “lead with value, not price,” which isn’t too surprising, given Google’s lower base price for its Apps service when compared to Office 365. While Google is offering a “one-size fits all” SKU, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, Connor admitted.

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Source: Associated Press



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