Photo: Co.Design via Curbed.com
Microsoft’s Valentine’s Day letters from customers who “said goodbye” to Google Apps hit a nerve with at least one Google customer who tried both companies’ hosted solutions.Bergelectric was going to go with Microsoft in 2009 until they looked at the contract and found that “what we were promised wasn’t what we were given.”
Kyle Swafford is the IT director of Bergelectric, a 600-person electrical contracting company with about $500 million in annual revenue. He explains that the company was ready to move off its antiquated Novell Groupwise email system in 2009, and decided that a hosted solution made sense because it would cost about one-fourth as much to set up and maintain as an on-premises Exchange Server.
Bergelectric piloted Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), but backed out at the last minute and went with Google instead. Here’s why:
- Contract confusion. The hosted version of SharePoint came with storage limits. Once those limits were passed, additional charges applied. This didn’t become clear until Bergelectric looked at the contract, Swafford claims.
- Archiving. At the time, the BPOS didn’t have any native solution for archiving email, while Google offered add-on archiving services from Postini. (Microsoft has since added Exchange Hosted Email Archiving.)
- Browsers. When accessing BPOS email from a browser, Microsoft requires Internet Explorer to get all advertised features. Google offers the same experience in all browsers.
- Getting data out. Bergelectric trusted that Google would make it easier to get its data out of the system if the company ever wanted to switch to another provider or an on-premise system.
Swafford calls Microsoft’s criticisms of Google Apps — like lack of support and so-called enterprise features — “much ado about nothing.” Bergelectric bought Google Apps through a reseller, and all issues have been resolved much more quickly than the 72-hour turnaround time cited by Microsoft customer BridgeView IT.
Overall, he says “Personally, every person I’ve spoken to is ecstatic about Google Apps. Compared with what we had before, it’s one of the best things we’ve done. Forget the millions we’ve spent on other systems, that was the best investment we’ve ever done. Nobody does a dance about Microsoft.”
Still, it’s worth noting that Bergelectric was not primarily a Microsoft shop, but was moving from a third-party email server. Microsoft may still have an edge when pitching to companies already using a lot of Microsoft software.