In a bold and frankly, unwarranted, blog post, Google has attacked Microsoft saying that its tech makes customers less secure. If you're wondering what the basis for such an extraordinary claim is, the firm has actually cited the results of a Public Opinion Strategies survey commissioned by Google itself. The survey polled 2,600 American workers which includes 338 people who work for the government in various capacities.
Although the survey consisted of questions about various topics including cybersecurity, legacy software, and purchasing habits of organizations, there were some questions that involved Microsoft too.
According to the results, 84% of D.C. metro government employees use Microsoft services such as Teams, Word, Outlook, and OneDrive. The majority of all respondents claimed that the government's reliance on Microsoft tech makes it more vulnerable to cybersecurity incidents such as hacks. And why do they believe this, you ask? Apparently, Google doesn't think that this is important enough to disclose or even ask about.
Google further attacked Microsoft by implying that the firm's tech is actually legacy and that the only reason organizations aren't switching to newer vendors is because of resistance to change. Roughly half of the respondents also claimed that there are other products out there which would allow them to do their jobs better. Google says that this has lead to a harmful trend of shadow IT where workers are using unapproved software to be more productive at their workplace. And why are they being allowed to download software without any vetting from IT admins? Apparently, Google doesn't think that this is important enough to disclose or even ask about.
As a final note, Google also added that organizations need to rethink their software purchasing strategies, going on to say that:
With so many survey respondents reporting that they are dissatisfied with their legacy IT solutions, it may be time for the government to rethink its approach to procurement.
[...] As governments work to meet the demands and preferences of their constituents—and their employees—it’s clear that there’s an overreliance on legacy solutions, despite a track record of cybersecurity vulnerabilities and poor user perception.
At Google Cloud, we believe it’s time for more diversity and choice in the tools available for our civil servants across the nation—70% of whom use Gmail outside of work, according to our survey. Government workers have the right to benefit from the same flexible, secure-by-design tools at the office that they use in their personal lives.
In a statement to NBC News, Microsoft expressed disappointment at Google's tactics but stated that it's not surprised to see its competitor utilizing these methods to push its own products. On a sassy note, the Redmond tech giant has said that it will continue supporting the U.S. government and its other customers with its "best software and security services".
As someone who uses both Google and Microsoft services across various workflows, I'll be honest here. The survey and Google's associated blog post reads more like a hit piece rather than actual findings. There's an absurd lack of context to the responses and it's clear that the company just wants to attack Microsoft and push its own products. While that makes sense from a competing standpoint, perhaps its efforts and money would be better spent on improving its own services rather than commissioning weak surveys to bash the competition.