In the war between Microsoft and Google for office cloud software domination, Microsoft just won another big battle. It landed General Electric as a huge customer for Office 365.
GE will be bringing Office 365 to its 300,000 employees, making this one of the largest contracts for Office 365 to date.
The deal is big, but not particularly surprising. Microsoft and GE have had a relationship for eons. And at least one of its divisions, GE Healthcare, has been using another part of Microsoft’s cloud, Azure, to host some of its apps.
GE is also a classic Office 365 customer, according to a recent survey by BetterCloud of 1,500 IT professional, all of whom either manage Office 365 or Google Apps for Work for their companies.
The survey found that Microsoft is winning Office 365 customers from exactly the kinds of companies you’d expect it to win: companies that already use Microsoft Office and older companies with older workforces, such as large multinationals like GE.
That’s good news for Microsoft for a lot of reasons. It means that one of its most important, cash-cow businesses will not be eaten alive by Google anytime soon.
And that gives CEO Satya Nadella the runway he needs to get Office users to fall in love with all the fancy new, artificially intelligent productivity tools he’s rolling out for them. This includes everything from Nadella’s personal favourite new app, Delve, which helps people find important information buried in their in-boxes and Office Documents’ to Power BI, which lets them ask questions of the data stored in office documents and get answers via charts and graphs.
Nadella’s grand plan is to make all companies love Microsoft again with such productivity tools.
On the other hand, the BetterCloud survey also found that Google Apps is winning customers from exactly the kind of companies you’d expect: younger companies, with younger employees that don’t have a history of using Microsoft Office. In other words, the next generation of companies.
So Microsoft has a window of opportunity to keep Google away for now but maybe not forever.
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