War of words at Pearson between Microsoft Office and Google Apps

Microsoft has been trying to show lately that many companies that switched from using Office software to Google Apps have decided to go back to using Office, due to Google's solution lacking many features. Now it appears that a war of words has erupted from a number of employees at the well known educational company Pearson, starting last week when the company announced that it offered its staff members a choice of using either Google Apps or Microsoft Office.

V3 reported that at that time, Pearson claimed that 33,000 of its 40,0000 staff members made the choice to use Google Apps. However, after that article was posted, comments were posted by a number of anonymous Pearson employees to that article, which claimed that the company in fact did not give them that choice and instead insisted that workers use Google Apps.

One worker wrote:

In discussions with employees, most still wish we went with Microsoft, especially in the US. The general feeling is that Google was chosen at the highest levels and forced upon the masses. We got Screwgoogled.

In a follow up article today on V3, a statement from a Microsoft spokesperson said, "Customers who ‘Go Google’ often end up unhappy and many decide to switch back to Microsoft, because Google’s browser-only approach can’t deliver the experience and capabilities people need at work."

While neither Google nor Pearson have commented directly on the claims of these anonymous workers, a Pearson employee did post a comment on the original V3 article, stating, "We found that Google Apps was an excellent and safe solution for our business. The majority of the feedback we have received from our global workforce has been extremely positive."

Source: V3 | Image via Pearson

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38 Comments

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Pearson sucks anyway. Am still a college student and their online tools are terrible for something that's supposed to be 2010-now. Signing in is funky, so many redundant courses/brands, weird input formatting, etc.

There are some way better alternatives (Cengage's Aplia for example) and I feel like Pearson's physical textbooks also suck compared to the competition. Luckily, the higher courses levels have avoided Pearson for the most part. Hope to see better and smarter competition to Pearson continue to grow.

I live in Office apps. Google can't make Google Apps cheap enough. The time an employee spends in software using it far outweighs the cost of any licensing. Companies that just look at licensing software from an "expense" perspective are short sighted...(i.e., idiots).

Shadrack said,
I live in Office apps. Google can't make Google Apps cheap enough. The time an employee spends in software using it far outweighs the cost of any licensing. Companies that just look at licensing software from an "expense" perspective are short sighted...(i.e., idiots).

I find that people who get caught up in initial expenses are wearing their inexperience on their sleeves. That's the kind of mistake average consumers make--obsessing over spending less TODAY even if it means spending 10x overall in the long run. For someone with influence over the tools deployed at a business to make that mistake is scary.

Joshie said,

I find that people who get caught up in initial expenses are wearing their inexperience on their sleeves. That's the kind of mistake average consumers make--obsessing over spending less TODAY even if it means spending 10x overall in the long run. For someone with influence over the tools deployed at a business to make that mistake is scary.

It happens a lot even where I work at. The problem is that employee time (and their resulting salaries) are already budgeted year-to-year. Expenses are seen as extra excess that cuts into profits. We went through a period of time about 7 years ago where IT would only buy the cheapest piece of **** computers they could find. Finally took one of our VPs to intervene and explain that we spend about 100% of our time on the computer, and our time is MUCH MUCH MUCH more valuable than any hardware configuration. Since then the pendulum has swung the other direction (I feel that we are probably spending too much on hardware) but we are getting some nice computer hardware at work and we are more efficient because of it.

We are currently on Google Apps and at this point we only use their email. Getting ready to migrate over to Office365.com. I can't imagine anyone in their right mind who really cares about the productivity of their company actually wanting their employees to use Google apps. Even my boss who is not an IT person realizes how ineffective Google apps is for anything above 5-10 people (and even that is a stretch).

o365 is way better than google apps, i have used both and am really unhappy with google apps issue. can anyone elaborate on the part "ms provides various discount for small business"?

I said exactly the same thing back before Office Web Apps where launched, but after the 2010 version came online, I see myself using it more and more over the Office 2013 I've installed on my PC (however, I use Office 2013 a lot too, but especialy on PCs with Office 2010 and lower, I'm always in the web version).

Studio384 said,
I said exactly the same thing back before Office Web Apps where launched, but after the 2010 version came online,
I understand where you're coming from but if you want to get real formatting work done you better be on the desktop application.

StephenBratz said,
Oh, look, the Google shill has appeared. How much do they pay you to post here?

Given that Neowin is full of Microsoft shills, someone has to provide balance

Javik said,
Neowin is full of Microsoft shill

Proof that we are shills? All I see are a bunch of whiny people who make up rumor after rumor. Claim that Microsoft is destroying computers/software/gaming, and every disagreement with these rumors, showing where Microsoft has denied these false rumors, or pointing out how Microsoft's competition has been doing those very things for years, but yet there is no proof that Microsoft will be doing such things, causes personal attacks, claims that you are a Microsoft shill, do not want to hear other opinions, destroying Neowin, and so on, and so on. And of course, we have Apple fanboy writers on this site who add to it, posting factually false articles, telling flat out lies hoping nobody will call him on it, while people like you jump in and joining in on supporting those false articles, and eventually they need to be pulled without as much as a retraction.

But we are the ones who are shills because we do not submit to Google taking our personal lives and using it at their will. If you do not put you faith 100% behind Apple, are haters and need to go away because you so mean to the Apple lover. Who do not hug the Penguin, as my comment was directed to, then you must be attacked because you must not dare say anything bad about Apple.

StephenBratz said,

Proof that we are shills? All I see are a bunch of whiny people who make up rumor after rumor. Claim that Microsoft is destroying computers/software/gaming, and every disagreement with these rumors, showing where Microsoft has denied these false rumors, or pointing out how Microsoft's competition has been doing those very things for years, but yet there is no proof that Microsoft will be doing such things, causes personal attacks, claims that you are a Microsoft shill, do not want to hear other opinions, destroying Neowin, and so on, and so on. And of course, we have Apple fanboy writers on this site who add to it, posting factually false articles, telling flat out lies hoping nobody will call him on it, while people like you jump in and joining in on supporting those false articles, and eventually they need to be pulled without as much as a retraction.

But we are the ones who are shills because we do not submit to Google taking our personal lives and using it at their will. If you do not put you faith 100% behind Apple, are haters and need to go away because you so mean to the Apple lover. Who do not hug the Penguin, as my comment was directed to, then you must be attacked because you must not dare say anything bad about Apple.

Yeah I'm not reading any of that crap.

Kalint said,
Yeah I'm not reading any of that crap.

The fact that you could not read a few lines of text, and then feel the need to tell me that you could not read it, speaks volumes about you.

StephenBratz said,

The fact that you could not read a few lines of text, and then feel the need to tell me that you could not read it, speaks volumes about you.

Is that bad?

It will be interesting to see long term which will be better.... I think google has made one really good decision in making one product for email. outlook.com should have been run on a free version of office 365 and brought everybody onto one platform. I really think having to run both services is going to slow down how quickly ms will be able to iterate on both platforms compared to google with just gmail. The question is will ms be able to stay ahead running both platforms.

Just like Google Docs in Google Drive, you can use a free web version of Office from SkyDrive. Outlook.com is as integrated to SkyDrive and Windows 8 as Google Docs is to Drive and ChromeOS.

For students, currently I think the ChromeBook subscriptions are hard to beat for school districts. I think that Windows RT will make some in roads this and next year and RT touch hybrid devices are a better choice for students than a ChromeBook. And with RT, students get a free copy of Office Home with the only limitation is that it does not run macros or VBA.

Rann Xeroxx said,
For students, currently I think the ChromeBook subscriptions are hard to beat for school districts.
Only from a cost standpoint. If you start calculating ROI Chromebooks fall apart. School Districts would better serve their students and teachers with a Windows RT tablet with a dock or a touch ultrabook setup.

MrHumpty said,
Only from a cost standpoint. If you start calculating ROI Chromebooks fall apart. School Districts would better serve their students and teachers with a Windows RT tablet with a dock or a touch ultrabook setup.

if you're talking ROI, you're deluded with RT. Lack of management out of the box and twice the price of Chromebooks. I agree with laptops. We going 1:1 with Asus x202e. $500 for the machines themselves and EES agreement for software. A lot of Missouri are going Chromebook and have had mostly positive experience. The battery life us a key for schools, also.

If whoever is making the decision to go to MS or Google and doesnt do the proper research to make sure whatever they choose suits their needs, then whose fault is that? Google? MS? No, its the morons making the decisions. Some companies, Google Apps will work great and be just fine for them...other companies will need more and go the MS route. But you dont leave it up to an end user to make the decision for you. Why companies have IT departments to do this sort of thing and there are plenty of IT consultants for hire of things like this as well.

Practically speaking, you can't just let employees choose on their own without interoperability issues. It was stupid of Pearson to even suggest that they offered the choice.

No joke, letting employees pick the software, interop be damned. Brilliant. At least it was (hopefully) limited to an office suite and not something a bit more complex. Probably a lot of facepalming going on in their IT department.

I can't imagine being forced to use Google Apps.

Say what you want about MS, but Office is a fantastic application suite that can't be matched.

Steve121178 said,
I can't imagine being forced to use Google Apps.

Say what you want about MS, but Office is a fantastic application suite that can't be matched.

Agreed. We looked into Google Apps and would never, EVER subject our staff to that... Office is well worth the money.

We even looked at OpenOffice (now LibreOffice) and even that client, as good as it was, could not replace MS Office. We are now on 365 and so far are very pleased. Moving to Lync and SharePoint and the integration is just so profound.

If I was a startup, maybe I would use Google. But enterprise size companies really need MS Office.

Just as a side note, just found out that in Office 2013 you can open up a PDF in MS Word and completely edit the text, content, pictures, etc. and save it back to PDF. This will eliminate the need for a lot of Adobe Acrobat licenses in our shop.

Rann Xeroxx said,
We even looked at OpenOffice (now LibreOffice) and even that client, as good as it was, could not replace MS Office. We are now on 365 and so far are very pleased. Moving to Lync and SharePoint and the integration is just so profound.

If I was a startup, maybe I would use Google. But enterprise size companies really need MS Office.

Just as a side note, just found out that in Office 2013 you can open up a PDF in MS Word and completely edit the text, content, pictures, etc. and save it back to PDF. This will eliminate the need for a lot of Adobe Acrobat licenses in our shop.

Even as a start up Microsoft has programmes that give discounts to start up companies believing that winning over companies early means that they're potential large customers later on.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Even as a start up Microsoft has programmes that give discounts to start up companies believing that winning over companies early means that they're potential large customers later on.


People often seem unaware how flexible Microsoft can be in licensing.

Rann, that's a feature that I (as a fanfiction writer/beta-reader/editor) could barely function without. One complaint that is legion is the inability of non-Windows readers to handle Word-formatted documents - and that is despite my formatting my output in the old Word 97/2003 format by default. Being able to spit out perfect Acrobat formatted files (I use Adobe Reader to proof, which is why I can rely on Word's PDF output) brings those complaints to an utter halt. Has Adobe responded? Of course it has - it has added the ability in Adobe Reader to convert files from PDF to Word format. Therefore, it's win/win for almost everyone.

if you got to choose between the real thing, or some terrible clone,what would you choose? in the end,all these guys who choose the terrible clone will end up losing their jobs because they decided to be cheap. even google acknowledged that google apps is terrible because theyre replacing it with quickoffice.