back to article Google Apps punts kill-Microsoft-Exchange-now tool

While Microsoft has been failing to outfox Google in the web search and ad game, Google has - apparently - swiped a few of Redmond's customers away from MS Office. The Mountain View Chocolate Factory gloated on its corporate blog that 25 million people worldwide had switched to Google Apps in the past year. In a separate blog …


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  1. Don Mitchell

    Ersatz Office

    It will be interesting to see what happens when Microsoft deploys its online office tools. They've been slow to get that product out the door. I think most serious users don't want ersatz versions of office tools (like Open Office or Google Apps). Ultimately, Microsoft has the expertise and spends big bucks doing research and user studies on office tools, while Google and Open Office have been able to simply reverse engineer the features of MS Office, But someone needs to be advancing the state of the art, and so far that has only been Microsoft.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Since when???

      Since when has Microsoft bothered it's arse about what users want ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ersatz Office

      How has Microsoft been advancing the state of the art? By perverting standards and polluting it with their usual substandard "extensions"?

      Obviously you've never seen OpenOffice.

      1. Ste ve

        Open Office

        I don't think I'm alone in finding Open Office to be a very low rent alternative to Microsoft Office.

        Yes it's free, but I wish people would stop evangelising it as better then office. It simply isn't. It too crashes. It too has security problems. It's also a lot less polished and less user friendly. As for it's macro ability - shoddy.

        I don't quite agree with the first poster that MS has been alone in advancing the state of the art, but in making things friendly for users - absolutely.

        1. CD001


          Sort of agree that OOo is a "low rent" version of MSO ... however I find it much easier to align images (dropping screen grabs into help docs) as I want them in Writer than any version of Word.

          And I can actually find things in OOo - the problem with the ribbon interface in MSO 2007 is that to keep things tidy they've stuffed some things in (what I find to be) very strange places, "macros" under "view" for instance or "headers and footers" under "insert" rather than "page layout".

          And since about the only thing I use a Word Processor for is cobbling together help documentation for apps I've written - the native PDF export in OOo is a total must-have. So for the limited amount of work I actually do in "Office" documents, for me, OOo IS better than MSO.

          1. Rob Moir

            Strange places

            "they've stuffed some things in (what I find to be) very strange places, "macros" under "view" for instance or "headers and footers" under "insert" rather than "page layout"."

            Wasn't the menu commands in earlier versions of office "View->Macros" and I'm quite certain that it was "Insert>Header and Footer".

            Not so strange really.

    3. Mark 65

      Not sure

      that many would agree that office has really advanced any since 2003. A bit of lipstick on the pig but little else. More rows and columns in Excel. Wow!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re : Ersatz Office

      "serious users don't want ersatz versions of office tools"

      When I was a 'serious' user of Excel I often found that it wasn't up to 'serious' work and had to use JMP ( I admit rather costly).

      Tools for the job - OpenOffice will suit many people

      1. Christopher Rogers


        "Tools for the job - OpenOffice will suit many people" - Except it doesn't, otherwise it would have overtaken MS by now.

        Tools for the job - Excel (as part of MS Office) suits most people.

        1. Keith Oldham

          Re : err

          OpenOffice WILL fulfill many peoples requirements - if you think it unsuitable for you then pay up. Excel may suit most people especially if they never try OpenOffice.

          1. Christopher Rogers
            Thumb Down


            I've used OO. Found its interface to be dated and some parts limited in function i.e. Calc.

            1. Keith Oldham

              Re : Really?

              So ?

              For the vast majority the slightly-reduced functionality will be more than offset by the zero cost. Given that OpenOffice will read more formats than Office, write PDFs it suits many people who don't need to be forced to use Office by corporate dictat.

              I've built a fileserver for (much) less than the cost of Office.

              If you want to use it then pay up just don't ruin it for others who can try OpenOffice without laying out any cash and may never need to.

              I speak as someone who used Excel every day for years in a corporate scientific environment, often dealing with data set sizes that Excel couldn't handle.

    5. Rob Moir

      Not all Office competitors are created equal

      I wouldn't lump Google Apps and Open Office in together. The choice between OO and MSO is a straight choice between two basically similar products and either OO does what you need or your requirement for MSO is enough to justify paying for it, but fundamentally, whichever one you choose, you have a conventional desktop app that's available as long as your computer is, and stores documents locally (to your LAN at least).

      If you choose google apps then you're doing the cloud thing, essentially saying that you don't mind not being able to do any work at all if the gas board digging up the street outside your office cuts the internet cable in exchange for being able to work "anywhere" (provided "anywhere" has a good internet connection) and that you trust Google more than Microsoft for some ludicrous reason that ignores the fact that all corporations are the same.

      You can probably tell I'm not a fan of the cloud thing... but either way I don't see there's any difference between OO and MSO when the choice is to decide between (either/any of) those or Google Apps.

  2. dave 93
    Thumb Up

    Google Apps are 'good enough'

    ... and the forms/spreadsheets and notifications for shared document activity are killer features. I think that it's a bit early for Google to drop support for IE6 though. I use and administer Google Apps every day with around 500 other people at work, and it keeps getting better and better.

    1. simon_elreg

      Oh comon!

      /* I think that it's a bit early for Google to drop support for IE6 though. */

      Early? Early? Are you serious? I find it hard to believe that anyone still supports it that abomination.

      And I am surprised at the success for Google Docs. It will all end in tears.

  3. Christopher Rogers
    Thumb Down

    Nice idea.

    Too much potential for it to fall over and leave the client (and its IT team) high and dry, as proved by recent events.

  4. Harry
    Thumb Up

    Most of us will be glad ...

    ... to see Exchange banished from the planet, or preferably from the whole universe.

    There can't be many people who haven't at some time received a mysterious "winmail.dat" that displays nothing whatsoever on good, standards-compliant mail readers.

    Once again, it was that arrogant Microsoft trying to foist its "sub-standards compliant" rubbishware on a community where it was never welcome. If Google can replace microsoft email (with, I presume, standards-compliant mail messages) then well done to Google and lets have some more of microsoft's gates well and truly lowered.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Out of the frying pan into the fire!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Google tool?

    That would be Mr Eric "All your ad budget $$$ are belong to us!" Schmit then!

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Exchange killer?

    Not clear from the article that the headline is accurate.

    Lots of IT orgs would like a system that combines the common mail client with an integrated calendaring system, but mainly what we've seen for the past 15 years is crap "groupware" suites, Exchange/Outlook, Lotus Notes/Domino, Novell Groupwise, are/were the cream of the crop. Which is to say, what groupware is out there for enterprise IT consumption is basically dreck.

    Domino is near universally reviled, Gorupwise would be, except it's never been that popular. And the (apparently) most common of the bunch, Exchange/Outlook (and it's Entourage client on Mac) has mail clients (Outlook/Entourage) that routinely masticate and ingest their own local message databases.

    Not to mention the native Exchange client<->server comms protocol seems to be fairly chatty and inefficient. Experience indicates that Exchange also makes for a rather poor performing IMAP server as well.

    Being a Mac user for the work machine, this is why I'm now fetching mail using spop with thunderbird, and only firing up Entourage when a meeting invite (*.ics) needs to be accepted and posted to the server side calendar. Which I read using OWA.

    If the FOSS community ever comes up with a solution that can replace the common integrated mail/calendar solutions in use today, plus provides the bridge (eg. Cal/DAV support) to a non-Exchange solution, I predict that the rate of uptake would surprise lots of people.*

    I don't think anyone ever cared for all the extended features that groupware offered, the users just wanted the calender integrated with the mail client and the meeting scheduler applications.

    For most of us, any features beyond mail and calendaring are just useless dreck.

    And it doesn't appear that Google has come anywhere near solving the problem described above. Because the cloud has nothing to do with what the users want.


    *Maybe folks will post notes about non-MS mail clients that support Cal/DAV. Evolution is the only one I know of, and it's kind of iffy, depending on implementation. The version included Ubuntu 9.04 was the first one I've seen where the calendar interface to the Exchange server actually works.

    1. bygjohn

      You've probably tried this already, but...

      What about the bundled Mail, Address Book and iCal applications that come with Mac OSX? iCal can handle meeting requests (well it could handle the ones from Groupwise), and I believe will even work with Exchange, so you could dump Entourage.

      Just a thought, I'm not claiming any great expertise or experience here.

  7. Robert Pogson

    Bloated Office

    Only M$ has billions taken from buyers locked-in and can afford tones of research into what cute useless features will amuse users. Only M$ has made an office suite a conduit for malware and a burden to open standards everywhere.

  8. Anonymous Coward


    I don't understand this article. I thought Google already has its Google Docs running and MS is the one that needs to catch up. And why is the article referring too MS Exchange???

    "The company's tool, which can banish Microsoft Exchange 2003 and 2007 versions into the stratosphere, is intended for biz customers brave enough to shift their entire document estate onto one of Google's data centres."

    MS Exchange 2003/2007 and now 2010 is an email server solution, not an MS Office suite. Whatta heel are you guys talking about??.

  9. Neoc

    Not for me

    I am no fan of MS Exchange... but the thought of handing all that mail/contacts/calendar information to a third party in another country just gives me the heebie-jeebies.

    I'll stick to my local non-MS server, thankyouverymuch.

  10. stizzleswick

    The basic idea is nice enough...

    ...but for many companies, shifting sensitive customer data (like, e.g., emails) to any place not within the company's DMZ is simply a no-no. For those companies, there are several solutions available that are not Redmond-branded and have nothing at all to do with the biggest data collector in the world, whose "Don't Be Evil" mantra has been more than just a little unbelievable to the discerning potential customer for quite a while. They're in the business of selling customer data. None of my company customers would be silly enough to hand them the keys to their hard-earned customer databases.

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Wonderful news, except for one thing

    I'm all for obliterating Exchange and Outlook from the face of the Earth, and anything furthering that end is welcome to me.

    Except that replacing a bug-infested, malware-friendly platform with one that is unproven (because beta, eh?), insecure and managed by an ad broker is not exactly the smartest of moves.

    And whoever does it, I'm sure of one thing : marketing and accounting are NOT going to put sensitive data on a 3rd-party server hosted somewhere in a cloud that can't reach and much less manage.

    Don't agree ? Then think of this : do you really think that management wants to risk putting records of its bonuses on a server they can't be sure is secure ?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm all for competition but

    We don't use Exchange but I find it hard that Google can just wheel out a replacement for Exchange in a matter of months, MS has been working with bussiness for over 13 years on Exchange I know if carries lots of unnecessary features for small bussiness (that's what SBS is for i suppose) but for large bussiness it has some fantastic features.

  13. Ste ve

    On-line apps

    I have two main problems with the concept of google apps.

    I'd rather have apps locally and depend on the computer+software working, rather than increasing that dependancy list to include ISPs and remote computer. For a business to choose to rely on 2 things completely out of their control is just plain stupid.

    Further, I wouldn't trust anything propriertary going through google's system, let alone personal information. They claim no evil, yet seem intent on tracking just about everything they can because they can (streetmaps and wi-fi macs for example). Too much additional data being stored for no valid reason.

  14. Stone Fox
    Gates Halo

    it seems appropriate

    that the words compliant and complaint are so similar.

  15. scottf007

    No Support

    They have no support and do not acknowledge users.

    You have not been able to turn on Sync to mobiles for a month now, they responded yesterday and say it will be two weeks.

    You can not run a business with no one to talk to if something breaks....

  16. Rob Moir

    it's funny...

    how its microsoft who are supposed to suck at making reliable systems yet both my exchange 2007 service and desktop office suite availability are both doing better than Google's, on a much smaller budget I might add.

    Don't think I'll be rushing to migrate.

  17. Cameron Colley

    Are real companies/firms using google?

    There's a lot of talk about google stuff replacing office suites and document management systems and the like, but do any real companies or firms (i.e. that have to pass audits and show due diligence) use google docs?

    I ask because I can imagine the reaction if the CIO here told the board of directors all their email would be stored "in the cloud" and spread around the world depending on thing like the ambient temperature and the price of electricity. I don't think that, for example, the Italian government would take kindly to Italian firms storing their email in undisclosed locations abroad either?

  18. Paul Simmonds
    Thumb Up

    If nothing else...

    ...a little serious competition might get Redmond to clean up it's act and note the fact that they don't run the planet just yet.

  19. Rex Alfie Lee

    Perhaps Microsoft's cloud...

    Well, who would you trust with online documents? Microsoft perhaps who you can't trust with your documents from one version to the next & lets not even start on the malware issues. Microsoft wants the cloud but they seem to me to be in a mess.

    Google's docs may not be perfect but at least you're unlikely to lose the data. What's more, from version to version you'll still be able to see the data.

    I know, give M$ a break, yep & I have for 2 years now & never going back.

  20. Anonymous Coward


    From their own site:

    ".....and we expect a resolution for all users in the near future. Please note this time frame is an estimate and may change."

    So the problem will be fixed sometime today / tommorow / this year, but we may decide to change this to a decade or two....

  21. Petetm

    Exchange killer? HUH?

    You're comparing Domino to Exchange? That's funny

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