Google Apps Continues Cloud Assault On Microsoft Exchange

Google has added new features to its Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange, another blow against Microsoft and other legacy e-mail systems as the search giant pushes its cloud computing agenda.

The new version of Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange, Google's tool that helps move Exchange e-mail users to Google's cloud-based Apps platform, adds new capabilities to help solution providers more easily move their client base off of Microsoft Exchange and onto Google Apps.

The new features include IMAP support that lets administrators migrate e-mail from systems like Novell GroupWise to Google Apps or between different Google Apps accounts. The latest version also adds PST support, which lets users move PST files on behalf of users in their domain once they have aggregated users' data files in one location.

Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange also now features stronger hosted Exchange support, allowing administrators to migrate data from hosted Exchange by running the migration tool on local servers, without requiring the Exchange hosting partner to run any special software on their end.

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"Customers moving to Google Apps are migrating email, calendar and contacts data from several different legacy systems, and many are doing so from mixed sources including data stored on end user machines and company servers," Google Apps project manager Abhishek Bapna said in a blog post. "With this in mind, we're constantly trying to make it really easy, fast and painless for you to migrate data in each of these scenarios."

Google originally launched Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange in March to help users migrate hundreds of users in one fell swoop from Exchange to Google Apps.

Two months later, Google followed up the launch with the release of Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Outlook, an end-user tool that lets individual users move e-mail, calendar and contact data from Outlook profiles, PST files and Exchange accounts over to Google Apps.

Both products, and the recent updates to Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange, are seen as major swipes at Microsoft as the two tech powerhouses tussle in the cloud computing trenches and bump up against each other in more and more markets.

The back and forth between Google and Microsoft has prompted some industry watchers to wonder if Google Apps could eventually supplant Microsoft Exchange. In June, Google said that its Apps customers had migrated more than 2 billion e-mail messages to Google Apps and in the two previous months more than 14 million calendar events and 6 million contacts were moved from Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes.