Microsoft Slams Google As Cloud Contention Boils

Microsoft threw gas on the cloud competition flames,

With Google hosting its Atmosphere 2011 CIO event at its Mountain View, Calif.-based headquarters, Microsoft took the opportunity to say it's not threatened by Google and Google Apps and reaffirm its "all in" cloud strategy. Microsoft went so far as to call Atmosphere "Admosphere" and point out that Google is more focused on advertising than it is its business customers.

Microsoft said Google is trying to "convince this audience that it cares about businesses as much as advertisers," Microsoft Senior Product Manager Tony Tai wrote in a blog post. Microsoft pointed to its stability, roadmap and focus to keep as data points to keep customers from going to Google for the cloud.

In a blog post dubbed "Clearing the Atmosphere," Microsoft Director Tom Rizzo said Google Apps hasn't made a dent in Microsoft's cloud and Office businesses. Rizzo said Office 2010 is the fastest selling Office version, and has sold more than 100 million copies; SharePoint, Exchange and Lync grew by double digits in 2010; and Microsoft Office 365 drew in more customers in its first 10 weeks than its predecessor did in 2 years.

Rizzo said Office 365 is on track to be the fastest growing product he's worked on, a roster that includes SQL, Exchange and SharePoint. He added that Office 365 has outpaced Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) in just 10 weeks and Office 365 combined with Live@edu and Office Web Apps have drawn more than 80 million users to Microsoft's cloud productivity offerings for businesses, schools and individual users.

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"Our business is doing very well, and we are not seeing Google get much traction," Rizzo wrote.

Rizzo also attacked Google's claims that companies are "going Google," adding that few businesses are actually deploying Google Apps, and the ones that do are struggling with rollouts. Rizzo pointed at Google's troubled Google Apps deployment for the city of Los Angeles, which has suffered several starts and stops along the way. And for those that actually roll out Google, they aren't replacing Microsoft Office.

"Even those who roll out Google Apps aren’t replacing Office," Rizzo said. "We interviewed more than 90 small and medium-sized organizations using Google Apps across five countries and found that nine in ten still use Office. The ultimate example is Google themselves, who still require PowerPoint and Excel in numerous job postings on their web site. Even Google cannot seem to Go Google."

Google, however, squashed Microsoft's claims. In a keynote presentation at Atmosphere, Google Vice President of Enterprise Sales and Operations Amit Singh said Google is actually wooing cloud customers away from Microsoft.

"Thousands of customers -- thousands every day -- are turning off their Microsoft servers and moving to Google Apps … I think we're doing a bit of winning ourselves," he said.

At the same time, Google's stable of cloud reseller partners are armoring up and prepping for battle against Microsoft in the cloud sales trenches.

And Rizzo noted that Microsoft has not stopped innovating. He said nearly all of Microsoft's engineers are doing work that contributes to Office 365.

"We recognize that the cloud is the future, and we’re working with our customers to take them there," he wrote.

Meanwhile, Rizzo chided Google, saying it is focused more on protecting its advertising business than delivering solutions to customers. Rizzo highlighted Google's killing of the Gmail App for BlackBerry and its "incomplete" SLA, which he said doesn't cover all apps.

"In the end, competition is a good thing," Rizzo said. "Competition drives people to do their best work, and it moves industries, businesses and products forward. Facts are also a good thing. They shine a light in corners of the world that can sometimes be cloudy."