Office365 vs Google Apps
Essentially Office365 is Microsoft’s answer to try and protect the cash cows of Microsoft Office and Windows Operating System from Google Apps. However Google doesn’t seem too worried about Microsoft’s latest release claiming in their “365 reasons to consider Google Apps” blogpost that Office365 isn’t really a team collaboration solution and is only optimized for Windows-based PCs.
Google Apps certainly has a better Collaboration experience and more reliable than Office365, however Microsoft has the edge when it comes down to their familiar interfaces and number of existing customers.
Is it Enterprise Ready?
Assuming it works as advertised, Office 365 may catch on with some large enterprises that want Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and other SaaS applications. However over the last 2years BPOS has suffered from frequent interruptions, and support could be spotty. Just last month, the BPOS email service was hit with disruptions and admins were left in the dark as their service dashboards also went offline. CTO’s are going to be nervous about putting their faith in Office365 and will more than likely be looking for a hybrid or private cloud solution.
Its not a Mobile Solution
Microsoft claims that Office365 works with Windows Phone, iOS (iPhone/iPad), Symbian, Android, and BlackBerry;. however there is a big difference between works with and works well. The truth is that the only part of Office 365 that is thoroughly compatible with a non-Windows platform is Exchange. InfoWorld stated that “outside of Exchange, Office 365 is largely limited to desktop Windows users, though some SharePoint features work with the little-adopted Windows Phone 7 platform — but for 99% of mobile users who don’t use the Windows Phone platform — Office 365 is irrelevant because it is unusable.
Its still not Partner Friendly
Can partners white label Office 365 and manage customer billing? No. And that’s a big concern for some channel partners. Generally speaking, most VARs and SPs (A) want to brand third-party cloud services as their own and (B) want to maintain the billing relationship with end customers. So far, Microsoft has not introduced either option which will encourage Partners to look at other options.
Hosted UC in the next opportunity
Generally speaking, it seems like email, storage and security are three of the top services that SMBs are shifting to the cloud. The margins for Hosted Email are getting squeezed and Partners are looking for new ways to increase their revenue. There’s plenty of dialog about hosted UC and cloud related VoIP services that Partners can white label as their own. Cisco’s HCS solution is well placed to help Partners capitalise on this opportunity and could potentially transform them into Cloud Services Providers while still maintaining direct relationship with their customers.