Microsoft is firing another shot at Google Apps

Julie larson-greenGetty Images/Brad BarketMicrosoft Office boss Julie Larson-green

Microsoft’s war with Google in the workplace escalates today with a new program designed to lure Google Apps users over to Office 365.

The basic idea here, says Microsoft Senior Director Bryan Goode, is that Google Apps may be great for small companies — but at around 50 users, customers reach a “breaking point” and start wanting more security and management features.

That’s why Microsoft is lowering the requirement to get into Microsoft FastTrack, its program to help customers get started on Office 365, from 150 users down to 50 users, in an attempt to lure more Google-switchers.

Microsoft FastTrack is a bunch of tools that companies can use to get themselves started on Office 365, no matter what kind of service they’re moving from, but especially if they’re switching from Google for Work, the enterprise edition of Google Apps.

“We think we’re making a very strong case for customers to switch over from Google Apps,” Goode says.

It helps with relatively easy stuff, like migrating over email archives and settings. And a team of dedicated FastTrack engineers stands by to help with more complex stuff, like setting corporate data retention policies, Goode says.

Previously, it had been aimed at Microsoft’s largest customers. Now, it’s going to help smaller Office 365 customers have a smooth start, too.

This move isn’t nearly as aggressive as those made by Google last year, where the search giant promised to give Google for Work for free to Microsoft customers, for the entire length of their contract.

But that’s because Office 365 is good enough, and so much better suited to customer needs, that it doesn’t need to resort to that kind of aggressive manoeuvring, Goode says. Given that Microsoft has posted strong Office 365 growth, with 20.2 million subscribers as of the end of 2015, the company is definitely negotiating from a position of strength.

“This isn’t about finding artificial ways to increase demand,” Goode says. “That demand exists.”

NOW WATCH: This Google app could forever change the way you travel

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.