Microsoft is on the Google attack once again this week.
The software giant has created an iceberg info-graphic (see below) that reveals Google’s hidden costs. Tom Rizzo, senior director of Microsoft Online Services, who previously claimed Google is failing in the enterprise, penned a new blog post on Wednesday. Rizzo claims that Google Apps contains several hidden costs, especially when running Google Apps alongside Microsoft Office. Microsoft recently interviewed more than 90 small and medium-sized organisations using Google Apps across five countries, including the US, France and Japan. Microsoft found the following:
- For 9 out of 10 companies surveyed, Google Apps are used in parallel to Office. These companies have not replaced Office due to user readiness, productivity requirements, security concerns and the inability to work offline. Interestingly, Gartner confirms that the vast majority of enterprises will continue to standardize on Microsoft Office, while they only evaluate free trials of Google Apps, and do not intend to spend money on deployments.
- Of the small and medium sized businesses that participated in our survey, most were limited to using Gmail and calendar. Only two in five adopted Google Docs and two out of three companies still use Office as their primary productivity solution.
Rizzo explains that total cost of ownership increases when businesses use Google Apps. “The three general areas where organizations feel the Google Tax most strongly are deployment, IT support costs and user training,” says Rizzo. The blog posts finishes up with:
“Benjamin Franklin once said, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes”. While that may be true, it doesn’t mean that people and businesses should have to shoulder the Google’s hidden costs. Once people see through the sales pitch, they realize just how poor the return on investment for Google Apps actually is, and why 750 million people have chosen Office to power their business.”
Rizzo previously claimed in November that Google is “failing” in the enterprise. “Let Google say we’re way behind as we continue gobbling up enterprise customers. Let Google underestimate us. They’ll be shocked when they see all the momentum we have inside this space.” The ill feeling between the two companies continued this year when Google kicked off a search engine war of words. Search Engine Land posted a broad investigation into what Google claimed was Bing cheating search results. Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow who works on the company’s search engine ranking algorithm claimed that Bing was simply copying Google’s results. Google allegedly caught Microsoft’s copying by creating a “Bing Sting.” The search giant created one-time code that would manually rank a page for a certain term and create around 100 synthetic searches searches that hardly anyone would ever enter into Google. The searches returned little or no results on Google or Bing but Google created a special honeypot page to show at the top of each synthetic results page. The result? Bing started listing the random queries only a few weeks after Google began listing them.
Microsoft was quick to deny Google’s claims with a blog post entitled “Thoughts on search quality.” Microsoft’s Harry Shum simply shrugged off Google’s claims as part of over 1,000 different signals and features in Bing’s ranking algorithm. Google wasn’t happy leaving it at just that though. Amit Singhal published a Google company blog postentitled “Microsoft’s Bing uses Google search results—and denies it.” The blog post outlines much of the original report from Search Engine Land but also called Bing’s search results stale and a “cheap imitation” of Google results. Microsoft and Google employees also traded jibes over Twitter. Microsoft eventually “set the record straight” and both companies swept the incident under the carpet.
However, the feud came to a head recently when Microsoft filed an E.U. antitrust complaint against Google. The complaint is part of an ongoing investigation in the EU into whether Google has violated European competition law. Microsoft’s concerns center around the following:
- Google acquired YouTube – puts in place technical measures to restrict competing search engines
- Google blocked Microsoft’s new Windows Phones from operating properly with YouTube
- Google is seeking to block access to content owned by book publishers
- Google is restricting advertisers from accessing their own data
- Google contractually blocks leading Web sites in Europe from distributing competing search boxes
- Google discriminates against would-be competitors by making it more costly for them to attain prominent placement for their advertisements
The most recent example of Microsoft vs Google came in early April when Microsoft posted a stinging blog post publicly attacking Google. Microsoft’s claimed that Google had mislead its customers by claiming it has been certified under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel David Howard, explained that the United States Department of Justice had rejected Google’s claim that Google Apps for Government, Google’s cloud-based suite for government customers, had been certified under the FISMA. “So why did Google tell governments and the public that Google Apps for Government was FISMA certified even before it had applied for that certification? We’ll have to wait for Google to tell us what they were thinking,” said Howard in his original blog post. Google claims Microsoft’s blog post was breathless and irresponsible. “We’ve been open and transparent with the government, and it’s irresponsible for Microsoft to suggest otherwise,” said a Google spokesperson.
Microsoft also posted an Office 365 vs Google Apps comparison last month. The software giant created a mini-site to compare its Word Web App against Google Docs. Microsoft highlighted several inconsistencies when the same Word file is saved on Windows Live SkyDrive (or SharePoint) and Google Apps. Microsoft’s aggressive approach to Office 365 and Google Apps shows that the company will fight to protect its core business. This isn’t the first Google war and certainly won’t be the last of 2011.