Battlefield New York: Google, Microsoft Fight For Big Apple Cloud Bragging Rights

The cloud computing battle royal between Google and Microsoft has hit the streets of Manhattan, as the two powerhouses wrestle to control their own specific segments of the City that Never Sleep's cloud computing environment.

Google on Monday revealed that New York University (NYU) has signed on to move the entire university to Google Apps for Education for its e-mail and collaboration offerings.

Miriam Schneider of Google's Apps for Education team wrote in a blog post that "the weather report may predict sun today in New York City, but it's beginning to look more like a city that's in the 'cloud.' Today, NYU announced that it's moving to Google Apps for Education, providing cloud-based email and collaboration tools to the entire university community."

NYU's jump into the cloud will move more than 60,000 students, staff and faculty at NYU onto Google Apps and to tools like Gmail, Calendar, Docs and Sites. It will bring all 18 of NYU's schools, including medical, dental and law schools, together onto one platform.

Sponsored post

Schneider said that the project will save NYU roughly $400,000 annually by eliminating its need to buy, upgrade and maintain mail-servers and software licenses for on-premise systems.

Next: NYC Picks Microsoft's Cloud

NYU's cloud leap comes hot on the heels of New York State creating an initiative that brings Google Apps for Education into its K-12 schools. Google Apps Education Manager Jaime Casap wrote in a blog post earlier this month that the New York Institute of Technology, in partnership with the New York State Teacher Centers and associated Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), the New York State teacher unions and New York State professional organizations, will offer Google Apps access, training and support to 697 public school districts, along with all non-public and charter schools across New York.

"[I]t looks like the Empire State has fully embraced the cloud," Schneider wrote.

Meanwhile, Google's chief cloud rival Microsoft is still trumpeting being selected as the cloud computing provider of record for New York City in a deal that the company said could save the Big Apple $50 million over five years by consolidating existing license agreements and leveraging the cloud.

The five-year deal gives Microsoft the reins of New York City's IT infrastructure, which is utilized by more than 100,000 employees. The deal will standardize all of the city's agencies on Microsoft's platforms. The first wave of the rollout will move roughly 30,000 city employees to Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) of cloud apps, which was recently rebranded as Office 365, while some employees will be moved to the Deskless Worker version of BPOS, which costs less per seat than the full BPOS suite.

"With Microsoft's latest cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools, New York City employees will benefit from having better access to information, improved collaboration and information sharing among city agencies," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in a statement.

Next: The Cloud Competition Continues

While the value of the contract was not announced, it was seen as a big win for Microsoft in its cloud computing fracas with Google, especially after the city of Los Angeles passed over Microsoft in favor of Google for its cloud-based e-mail, office and collaboration offerings.

"Through our partnership with Microsoft, we've found ways to offer our employees Microsoft's newest, state-of-the-art computing tools while reducing costs to taxpayers," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. "By capitalizing on the City's buying power, consolidating dozens of separate City agency license agreements into a single one, and paying for software based on use, we'll save $50 million over the next five years."

The battle for New York City is the latest chapter in the ongoing back and forth between Google and Microsoft to control the cloud. The two companies have fought for position and have tried to one-up one another when it comes to cloud feature and function.

In recent months Google and Microsoft have competed head-to-head for cloud-based e-mail and application gigs in government agencies and on the cloud-based productivity apps front with Microsoft putting Office in the cloud with Office Web Apps 2010 to better compete with Google Apps and Google Docs.

The two companies have also battled to control e-mail and collaboration, with Google offering tools to migrate Microsoft Exchange and Outlook users to Google Apps.