Microsoft critical of city of Boston's switch to Google Apps

On Friday. Microsoft went into full attack mode against Google Apps, slamming Google's cloud services with new blog posts and satirical videos. The new campaign came on the same day it was revealed that the city of Boston was ditching Microsoft Exchange in favor of Google Apps.

In a story on the Boston Globe website, it was revealed that the main factor in the decision was financial. While it will take about $800,000 to move the government's systems from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps, the city of Boston believes it will actually save them at least $280,000 a year.

While Boston officials claims they are happy with the security that Google Apps provides, Microsoft begs to differ. In a statement sent to the Boston Globe, Microsoft said:

We believe the citizens of Boston deserve cloud productivity tools that protect their security and privacy. Google’s investments in these areas are inadequate, and they lack the proper protections most organizations require.

The article also states that Google Apps are now being used by other government agencies such as the US Department of the Interior and the state of Colorado, along with Princeton University. However, Microsoft's Office 365 cloud service has signed up some large customers of its own in the last few months, including the city of Chicago and the state government of Texas.

Source: Boston Globe
Boston image via Shutterstock

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I recently just switched all my domains' email to Live Domains and now considering upgrading to Office 365.

The transition was extremely smooth, but I would like Outlook's real interface rather than just the Outlook.com rebrand of Hotmail.

Google Apps was never a consideration as I serious issues with the way Google operates and would likely use any data I upload to the service. I only use Gmail as a junk mail address.

Somnus said,
I recently just switched all my domains' email to Live Domains and now considering upgrading to Office 365.

I'm not convinced that Live Domains is sticking around for much longer. Now that Google Apps are no longer free, it's no longer a competitive situation.

For example, Microsoft used to push Live @edu. If you go to the Live @edu website, they're now directing educational institutions toward Office 365.

Boston is going to incur a cost of $800K in order to save $280K per year based on TODAY'S pricing. They have a 3-year ROI, and there's no telling what the pricing will be like in 3 years. I'm going to laugh my arse off if Microsoft eventually undercuts the pricing of Google Apps, and it could very well happen considering how many huge wins O365 is getting. Microsoft's winning the County of Santa Clara contract for O365 must have really rankled Google.

Anyway, Boston's never going to get that $800K back.

I'm also surprised that Boston would move to Google Docs, they have a huge SharePoint environment and team that is extremely successful, if they are keeping that they are really lying about the real cost of moving, to keep SharePoint and move office and email to Google would not be saving anything. it would be more costly because MS bundles SharePoint with their cloud solution.

Boston is not comparing apples to apples, there is a lot of smoke being blown from the IT Person in charge. He has to be comparing Google mail and docs with exchange, office for the desktop, he is not comparing Google apps with MS cloud solution. which will offer what they have in house already.

Its so funny how people can get once they start using and Iphone or android device, or seach with google and think that its so awesome, which Google shearch is the best, no doubt. but that does not mean, that google docs and gmail is better than ms office. Gmail is a consumer product they are trying to push in the workplace.

Microsoft is a Business product, it much better in so many ways you really can't compare.
the issue is people use these consumer products at home and want them in the workplace.

I don't get it.



I've been using google docs and gmail for years and NEVER had any issues of security or privacy.

In fact the only time I even had a issue was a document was when I got a MS Word doc with a virus in it!

I think governments must own their cloud servers otherwise they will be controlled by other companies that exist only for making money.

I really hope Google purchase some competitive office suite product such as word perfect and bring boxed desktop version of office suite in the market. With their financial might and brand awareness will create much needed break down of MS monopolistic office position. Currently Libre office is not good enough and really looks crap.

Microsoft, it is not you, it is us, we don't like you, it starts with one product, then you split it to 2 and 3 just to make more money, then you get the basic and enterprise, just to make more money, then the multiple levels of support, and the list continues.

You milked everyone so bad so much so many times, that people just want to escape to the first competitor no matter what

well my office 2013 sub is $10.00 a month including 27GB of SkyDrive and 60 Skype minutes. i like it because it is cheap and worthwhile much more than google's free but not better suite which i use from time to time

I hear what you are saying but my gut feeling says the price for office is not a permanent price but more likely an introductory price same as windows 8. MS is testing their knew perpetual revenue model which is subscription based service. It will not always be $10 a month and once they got many people moved to their subscription model and there is less minority voice to complain about subscription price then everyone using MS product will be at mercy of MS monthly subscription fee. They will pull out boxed version of their product like adobe and then you will have to continue paying MS everything to edit your documents.

Not every one need to always have latest and greatest of the programs all the time. First, not every one need to use added functionality and I am sure people use typically less than 10% of all the features currently offered in MS office suite. Many people do not need to upgrade their software constantly and if something is not broken then why do you need to fix it. These cloud pushing of everything and subscription model of software use is really bad for consumer and corporations in long run. There is need to have some alternatives to keep competition alive and not to give too much power to one single corporation.

that is pretty commonly said, "If its not broke why fix it." They said that when Graham Bell made the telephone, Jobs with the Mac, and with the cell phone. Look i would never buy Office 2010 but 2013 I'd gladly pay for it. its revolutionary because it automatically syncs with my SkyDrive account, PDF view plus edit, and the new Metro design. just because it isn't broke doesn't mean you can't make it better.

Better is very subjective term. What might be better for you do not necessarily mean is better for everyone. If you like the crap metro interface with microsoft hand in your wallet every month then good for you but not every one think like you and if pushed enough then many people will find alternative.

Changes for the sake of changes are not innovation. Wheel has been invented since many thousand years ago. Now making it square rather than circle for the sake of change is most dumb thing to do.

crap? what is crap about it? sorry u have to hate (yet i still respect your right to hate). besides it is innovative. new features that make it easier to use are better, no?

If you think making MENU labels all bold is innovation then good for you. New does not mean better. It might be innovative but it will be innovative crap.

its not about MS being too expensive. If google docs actually came close to being what MS does at a cheaper price then it would be ok. Google are supplying an inferior product that costs less than a superb product that actually does what you need at a higher price. As a business owner myself I would in no way pick an inferior product just to save an amount of money in the short term. Boston will soon find out that this cheaper inferior product, google docs, was a bad mistake just as many who made the switch before and have gone back to MS product.

Google apps is cheaper for government. For education office 365 is free vs $50 a year per user for google apps but for governments google apps is cheaper.

maybe if Microsoft made the one with archiving $50 per user they would get more government customers.

majortom1981 said,
Google apps is cheaper for government. For education office 365 is free vs $50 a year per user for google apps but for governments google apps is cheaper.

maybe if Microsoft made the one with archiving $50 per user they would get more government customers.

The Office 365 K1 plan is $48 per user per year. Mail + Office web apps + Sharepoint. Browser apps only, data stored in the cloud, no desktop applications. Essentially what Google Apps is offering.

http://office.microsoft.com/en...iosk-plans-FX103178917.aspx

I don't see how Google Apps is $14 cheaper, per user per year. Either Google offered Google Apps to Boston at a discounted rate of $34 per user per year, and Microsoft refused to discount. Or the RFQ included other features -- such as VoIP telephony -- for which Microsoft charges extra.

and what about archiving ? and E discovery ? what is the cost for that ? how do you know that every pice of mail that hits goggles servers is archived.
And people are forgetting Microsoft should be more money, its a totally different experience than google docs. and if you look at the pricing I am not seeing much of a difference in pricing . Microsoft is a much better value than google docs

vcfan said,
this is the most devastating thing to happen to boston in recent times.

If you are trying to say this is worse than the Boston bombing, that is just wrong and silly....and really not funny. I have family that live in Boston as well as friends at work whoes kids had crossed the finish line and were a block ahead when the bombs went off.

techbeck said,

If you are trying to say this is worse than the Boston bombing, that is just wrong and silly....and really not funny. I have family that live in Boston as well as friends at work whoes kids had crossed the finish line and were a block ahead when the bombs went off.

youre right. it was in bad taste and isn't funny.Unfortunately, I cant edit the comment anymore.

Humor isn't supposed to be politically correct. I am deeply sorry for you and for anyone affected by the bomb- really. But for those of us who live away from Boston, it's not too soon. Funny is funny.

Victor V. said,
Humor isn't supposed to be politically correct. I am deeply sorry for you and for anyone affected by the bomb- really. But for those of us who live away from Boston, it's not too soon. Funny is funny.

If you think that is funny and saying sorry makes it ok...you have another thing coming. I know of a lot of families and people who would disagree with you. So just go away.

Some people.

techbeck said,

If you think that is funny and saying sorry makes it ok...you have another thing coming. I know of a lot of families and people who would disagree with you. So just go away.

Some people.

Mate relax plenty of people, including most likely you, laugh or make jokes about starving African kids, famines and nuclear bombs dropped on Japan. If all jokes were meant to be politically correct then there wouldn't be any jokes would there.

ingramator said,

Mate relax plenty of people, including most likely you, laugh or make jokes about starving African kids, famines and nuclear bombs dropped on Japan. If all jokes were meant to be politically correct then there wouldn't be any jokes would there.

Stop assuming what I think is funny. You have no idea what I am about. There are lots of things I do not think is funny. Especially when it comes to my close friends/family.

The economy sucks and you simply don't get to rip off customers and retain users. The righteous anger of some on here is funny, especially that people seem to trust Microsoft with their data given Microsoft's history. The delicious irony is, most of the Microsoft lovers on here hate Apple yet Microsoft are becoming more and more like them every day.

Microsoft provides uncompleted software, that requires an army of people like me (IT) to maintain and customize, they always start with a small price, and they push it up year after year.

Once Microsoft sells something to someone and take as much money it can, then it come us the IT contracts and take whatever is left.

Who knows, maybe Google is better, Google Docs is improving every few months, and Google Chrome is updated every 6 to 8 weeks.

If it was not for Google, there would be Word Cloud, Excel Cloud, and they will only work on Windows and it will need Windows cloud too and the list is endless.

My company switched over from Lotus Notes last year to Google Apps and it is a piece of crap. The web interface is terrible, DL's aren't really DL's. The only thing that made it useful for me was using there Google Apps Sync for Outlook. They changed all the lingo from any other mail package including the ISP like Comcast, Verizon, etc. All they did was take there consumer piece and attempt to add enterprise features to it. Google Docs is even worse, but this is only my opinion as a lot of people in my organization like it.

We totally had a similar experience at our workplace, if not worse. They switched from Office to Google a while ago, and it's been the worst experience ever... so much loss in productivity, lost emails, lost highly-critical documents... there's a long petition at our work to switch back because it's been nothing but ridiculous.

j2006 said,
lost emails, lost highly-critical documents... there's a long petition at our work to switch back because it's been nothing but ridiculous.

So what, your company relied on Google to keep your documents/emails? No other backups? If not, whose fault is that really?

IF all you have is a cloud copy of your data, whether it be on MS or Googles cloud, then its is not Google's or MS fault that something happens to your data and you cannot get it back.

I do believe that the highest executives do what they please with their files. And they don't tend to be geeks. So, in that sense, they may have files that get a lot harder to use when on Google Apps.

techbeck said,

So what, your company relied on Google to keep your documents/emails? No other backups? If not, whose fault is that really?

IF all you have is a cloud copy of your data, whether it be on MS or Googles cloud, then its is not Google's or MS fault that something happens to your data and you cannot get it back.

What do you mean who's fault is it, obviously its the service providers. Sure you could take measures to minimise such damage but it is still nonetheless entirely the service providers fault if your data is lost.

So this comment is form a consumer, when you use a cloud provider you keep your docs In the cloud you don't than back them up back to your office.

ingramator said,

What do you mean who's fault is it, obviously its the service providers. Sure you could take measures to minimise such damage but it is still nonetheless entirely the service providers fault if your data is lost.

Thats like saying at work...well, the files are stored on the server so they are safe. Why do we need tape backups of our data. If you do not have copies of your data, especially if you are a business, then it is your own ignorance that is to blame for loss of your data. Yea, it sucks that the server/cloud storage lost it....but if you reply on one method only to keep your data, then that is not very smart.

Evidently you dont know much about disaster recovery. See how well that will go over in the work place when you have zero backups of your data.

techbeck said,

Thats like saying at work...well, the files are stored on the server so they are safe. Why do we need tape backups of our data. If you do not have copies of your data, especially if you are a business, then it is your own ignorance that is to blame for loss of your data. Yea, it sucks that the server/cloud storage lost it....but if you reply on one method only to keep your data, then that is not very smart.

Evidently you dont know much about disaster recovery. See how well that will go over in the work place when you have zero backups of your data.

Except they are paying for the service, so it is the service providers responsibility an they would be legally responsible for that. If it's the free service, then I could see your point, but with the paid service, it's a different SLA.

I have never had a lost email or lost data with Google Apps. I've been with them since early on. With GAFE, we've used them for 3 years and no losses. We do archive using a third-party, which is pretty cheap for us being a school. Everyone has been very happy since we switched.

Simultaneous editing of docs is big for us. Forms and calendars (public/private) are both used a lot also. Office365 is improving rapidly and I'm looking forward to the future, but I don't see us switching any time soon.

What I've been saying all along. Some of Neowin's "experts" seem to disagree but I say tough cheese. Don't rip people off, or lose customers.

Just like what happened with Apple... MS didn't have to compete until Google can't along and now that they have competition, they don't like it. Whether or not Boston made a good choice, who knows. But I doubt the made the choice blindly.

This isn't about price, it's about security and privacy, as well as loss in productivity. Boston will definitely end up paying more in the end.

j2006 said,
This isn't about price, it's about security and privacy, as well as loss in productivity. Boston will definitely end up paying more in the end.

It is about price and why Boston switched. MS doesn't like it so they are complaining about security.

techbeck said,
So MS is crying over their choice. Called completion so compete. Your prices are not competitive.

As I pointed out below, Microsoft offers the web-only Office 365 K1 plan at $48 per user per year. Which, on the surface, is competitive to Google Apps at $50 per user per year.

http://office.microsoft.com/en...iosk-plans-FX103178917.aspx

So there's something else about this deal that we haven't been told yet. It might be that Google discounted below list price, and Microsoft refused to discount. Or the RFQ was tailored specifically to Google, such that Microsoft had to throw in $16 worth of other products to meet the RFQ's feature requirements. (If I had to guess, it would be Lync, which Microsoft charges extra for.)

TomJones said,

As I pointed out below, Microsoft offers the web-only Office 365 K1 plan at $48 per user per year. Which, on the surface, is competitive to Google Apps at $50 per user per year.

http://office.microsoft.com/en...iosk-plans-FX103178917.aspx

So there's something else about this deal that we haven't been told yet. It might be that Google discounted below list price, and Microsoft refused to discount. Or the RFQ was tailored specifically to Google, such that Microsoft had to throw in $16 worth of other products to meet the RFQ's feature requirements. (If I had to guess, it would be Lync, which Microsoft charges extra for.)

How about Exchange license vs Gmail. A lot of companies have been migrating over to Gmail. My friend who works in IT for Equinox just finished migrating from Exchange to Gmail. The response has been great thus far. They especially love (absolutely love) the use of labels instead of folder structure.

TomJones said,

As I pointed out below, Microsoft offers the web-only Office 365 K1 plan at $48 per user per year. Which, on the surface, is competitive to Google Apps at $50 per user per year.

http://office.microsoft.com/en...iosk-plans-FX103178917.aspx

So there's something else about this deal that we haven't been told yet. It might be that Google discounted below list price, and Microsoft refused to discount. Or the RFQ was tailored specifically to Google, such that Microsoft had to throw in $16 worth of other products to meet the RFQ's feature requirements. (If I had to guess, it would be Lync, which Microsoft charges extra for.)

The Government plan start at $6 for the web apps.
http://office.microsoft.com/en...ment-plans-FX103046199.aspx

farmeunit said,

The Government plan start at $6 for the web apps.
http://office.microsoft.com/en...ment-plans-FX103046199.aspx

What you linked to is the E1 plan, which normally costs $96 per user per year. Government clients get a discount to $72 per user per year.

The plan I linked to is the K1 plan, which is $48 per user per year. Anyone can buy this plan -- commercial or government.

Granted, that comes with a smaller mailbox, no conferencing client, etc. On the other hand, the E1 government plan is priced at a $22 annual differential with Google Apps -- whereas the numbers in the article indicate a $14 differential with Google Apps.

This suggests that Microsoft offered a reduced price on E1. Which also suggests that they would've been willing to negotiate on K1 as well, e.g., to increase the mail quota for a government client. In a competitive bid situation, list prices are never firm.

Microsoft is damaging its corporate image by repeatedly attacking Google. It makes the company look desperate, though it's not surprising given the failure of Windows RT / 8 in the tablet market, Windows Phone 8 in the mobile market and Bing in the search market. Microsoft is struggling to compete with Google in just about every market, which is why it is so worried about the diminishing influence of its Office brand.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Microsoft is damaging its corporate image by repeatedly attacking Google.

This is not attacking Google... it's telling the Government they are making a stupid move, because Google is simply not evolved enough as Exchange and no where near as secure for a Government. The corporation I work for switched from Office to Google a while ago, and it's been the worst experience ever... so much loss in productivity, lost emails, lost highly-critical documents... there's a long petition at our work to switch back because it's been nothing but ridiculous.

j2006 said,
This is not attacking Google...

Did you even read the article?

"Google's investments in these areas are inadequate, and they lack the proper protections most organizations require." <-- That looks like an attack against Google to me.

j2006 said,

This is not attacking Google... it's telling the Government they are making a stupid move, because Google is simply not evolved enough as Exchange and no where near as secure for a Government. The corporation I work for switched from Office to Google a while ago, and it's been the worst experience ever... so much loss in productivity, lost emails, lost highly-critical documents... there's a long petition at our work to switch back because it's been nothing but ridiculous.

Just because Microsoft has been in the game longer than Google doesn't mean anything. In fact, it's embarrassing that a new kid on the block (i.e., Google) can come and do a better job than Microsoft based on uptime alone. Google's infrastructure solution was born in the cloud whereas Microsoft's older client-server architecture is just now being retro-fitted for the cloud. And when it comes down to transparency, Google - again - is the clear winner by allowing anyone - customer or not - to see an up-to-date status on their service whereas Microsoft only provides such transparency to existing customers.

Clearly, Google is the winner here and Microsoft needs to stop spending money on ad's that seek to bully superior companies and use those funds to fix their own.

I'm not sure Google does a better job. I try to get everyone to switch from GApps to Microsoft because I really, really hate Google's platform. And it's not personal -- I loved Google before I was forced to work with it.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Microsoft is damaging its corporate image by repeatedly attacking Google.

"I'm a PC."

"And I'm a Mac."

"Geez Mac, I wish I didn't get so many viruses all the time!"

theyarecomingforyou said,

Did you even read the article?

"Google's investments in these areas are inadequate, and they lack the proper protections most organizations require." <-- That looks like an attack against Google to me.

They are not attacking the company, they are merely pointing out the truth about their products. Unfortunately many companies and schools have already worked out that Google Docs and co are utter crap. The biggest problem is formatting.

Man, I know it's one thing to save money, but I think they'll end up wasting more money spending time only to figure out how crappy Google Apps is. Plus Google? Probably going to start pushing personal ads to every single person.

neoxphuse said,
Man, I know it's one thing to save money, but I think they'll end up wasting more money spending time only to figure out how crappy Google Apps is. Plus Google? Probably going to start pushing personal ads to every single person.

Based on performance analyses, Google Apps is the winner. Plus, Google's Dashboard for their Apps service is free to access by everyone whereas Microsoft's is only available to 365 customers. So if a CEO wants to see the real time reliability for both services prior to moving to either one, Google provides such transparency free of charge.

And business customers don't see ad's in their emails.

M_Lyons10 said,
I certainly wouldn't trust Google with my data if I was in charge of a city or government...

If I was in charge of a city or government, I'd like to think I wouldn't trust ANY cloud provider with my data.

Frankly I find this idea of moving government data to the cloud to be something of a concern. What level of confidentiality is now being hosted on Google's/Microsoft's/Amazon's servers now without the consent of the people it relates to?

Majesticmerc said,

If I was in charge of a city or government, I'd like to think I wouldn't trust ANY cloud provider with my data.

Frankly I find this idea of moving government data to the cloud to be something of a concern. What level of confidentiality is now being hosted on Google's/Microsoft's/Amazon's servers now without the consent of the people it relates to?

See it as being stored on a remote server, if you must. "Cloud" is just a nomenculture. It's not like it would be floating above your head all time and anybody can access it. Also, if Microsoft is commiting to government organisations, it makes sense that they must be taking appropriate steps to seclude their data securely enough nfrom other customer data. Data Security must be the first thing the government organisations which have committed to Microsoft solutions must have looked into.

Majesticmerc said,

If I was in charge of a city or government, I'd like to think I wouldn't trust ANY cloud provider with my data.?

Agreed

Mohitster said,
See it as being stored on a remote server, if you must. "Cloud" is just a nomenculture. It's not like it would be floating above your head all time and anybody can access it. Also, if Microsoft is commiting to government organisations, it makes sense that they must be taking appropriate steps to seclude their data securely enough nfrom other customer data. Data Security must be the first thing the government organisations which have committed to Microsoft solutions must have looked into.

And I'm sure that Boston considered data security too, but relative to an internal network, it's still insecure. If there was confidential data about me being uploaded over the internet to a third party, I'd be pretty damn unhappy about it. It adds another point of failure to a solution that solves no problem. The city of Boston can make all the claims it likes about "cost savings" from moving to storing their documents remotely, but if that includes confidential data, there's a MASSIVE case to be made for spending a little more on local redundant storage that cannot be accessed from the internet.

On top of that, what happens if the city of Boston one day realises they can't pay Google (or <insert provider>) anymore - from bankruptcy or suchlike, Google are perfectly entitled to revoke access to, potentially, very important information. With internal hosting of documents, they can continue to get access to the data without issue. With a third-party hosted solution, there are potential difficulties. I'm sure there are contingencies in place for such an event, but still, I'd be uneasy about it.

Like Microsoft so eloquently put it, "sometimes you get what you pay for", and to me, that goes for both Microsoft and Google's solutions. Both are inferior to a locally hosted solution.

Majesticmerc said,

If I was in charge of a city or government, I'd like to think I wouldn't trust ANY cloud provider with my data.

Frankly I find this idea of moving government data to the cloud to be something of a concern. What level of confidentiality is now being hosted on Google's/Microsoft's/Amazon's servers now without the consent of the people it relates to?


I agree entirely.

Majesticmerc said,

If I was in charge of a city or government, I'd like to think I wouldn't trust ANY cloud provider with my data.

Frankly I find this idea of moving government data to the cloud to be something of a concern. What level of confidentiality is now being hosted on Google's/Microsoft's/Amazon's servers now without the consent of the people it relates to?

You should start a White House online petition. All the lame people are doing it these days.

Majesticmerc said,

If I was in charge of a city or government, I'd like to think I wouldn't trust ANY cloud provider with my data.

Frankly I find this idea of moving government data to the cloud to be something of a concern. What level of confidentiality is now being hosted on Google's/Microsoft's/Amazon's servers now without the consent of the people it relates to?

%100 agree

Majesticmerc said,

If I was in charge of a city or government, I'd like to think I wouldn't trust ANY cloud provider with my data.

Frankly I find this idea of moving government data to the cloud to be something of a concern. What level of confidentiality is now being hosted on Google's/Microsoft's/Amazon's servers now without the consent of the people it relates to?

Its OK until the FBI seizes them due to people uploading movies and TV shows to google servers