Google Lures Exchange Users With Promise Of Easy Migration

Called Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange, the tool can migrate hundreds of users at the same time and allows users to keep using Exchange during the migration process, said Abhishek Bapna, product manager for Google Apps, in a Wednesday blog post.

The free tool is available for Google Apps Premier and Education Edition customers and supports migrations from both Microsoft Exchange 2003 and 2007, as well as on-premise and hosted Exchange, Bapna said in the blog post.

Many industry watchers believe Microsoft is obsessed with Google, but it's increasingly apparent that the reverse is also true. Google earlier this month acquired DocVerse, a San Francisco-based startup which makes a plug-in that adds Web-based collaboration to Microsoft Office desktop applications.

By going after the install based of the world's most widely deployed e-mail application, Google is making the case that Google Apps is ready for business. Google says two million companies are using Google Apps today, and earlier this month the company unveiled an online marketplace for Google Apps, which includes e-mail, calendar and Google Docs document, spreadsheet and presentation applications.

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The idea behind the Google Apps Marketplace is to have partners build cloud-based applications that are tightly integrated with Google Apps, and more than 50 companies have signed up thus far. Google says it will rely on partners to build business applications in areas where it lacks expertise, and since it's only taking a cut of 20 percent, partners will have plenty of incentive to do so.

Google is also relying on partners to sell Google Apps. The company recently celebrated the one year anniversary of the Google Apps Authorized Reseller Program, in which VARs get a margin of 20 percent selling the suite and also maintain control over customer invoicing. Microsoft doesn't do this with its hosted applications, and that has been a major source of irritation for many of its partners.

Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange can be seen as the latest effort on the search giant's part to lure customers away from Microsoft. While no one would suggest that Google Apps is a viable replacement for enterprises that have long standardized on Exchange, don't think for a minute that this "death of a thousand cuts" approach that Google is using isn't going unnoticed in Redmond.