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Microsoft and Bill Gates Play Catch Up

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Well, Microsoft has done it again. Playing the classic “My software can beat up your software” game.

In this virtual playground, where Google is the handsome, young football player who goes to church and makes straight A’s, Microsoft sits on a bench feeding pigeons with a furrowed brow saying “I can do that too” each time Google does something snazzy that makes all the gals flock to him.

On Tuesday, March 4th, Bill Gates flexed his sagging muscles by saying that Microsoft will soon begin selling Web-based programs to smaller customers, something Google has been doing for several years now. The only fighter in this battle that’s changing is Microsoft. How you ask? By targeting small businesses.

In the late 90's and even in the early years of 2000, Microsoft sat back with their feet up swimming in the sweet victory of large corporations. Microsoft could care less if you or I bought a Mac. Apple could have us. Microsoft wanted the big bucks. But more and more small businesses (Once snubbed by Gates and his band), have started looking elsewhere for their office software needs. Google has begun to fit the bill.

Basically, the big news is this: SharePoint and Exchange are two of Microsoft’s biggest software programs (If you have never heard of them, that isn’t surprising. You would only have heard of these programs if you worked in an office that used SharePoint or you were the e-mail administrator for a business.), instead of this software being loaded on local servers and having to be maintained and managed by a local server administrator, they can be housed off-site in "Top Secret" Microsoft locations (Sounds cool already huh?) and can be accessed via web browsers instead of Outlook and other e-mail clients.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not really a hard-nosed MS hater. I am writing this article with Word 2007 as we speak. Personally, I love the idea. I manage an Exchange server at my office and it can be a pain, mainly in the fact that you likely need to buy a new server every 6 or 7 years, backups can take time and money, and if a tornado hits your office (We get a lot of them here) you are toast.

But, Google already thought of this. Google offers a professional version of Gmail for a small fee to business users. The cost is literally a fraction of what Microsoft charges. Plus the spam filter in Gmail is phenomenal, storage is almost infinite, and with Google Apps for business, you can share files, folders and information just like Microsoft’s future version of Exchange and SharePoint will do!

So I am wondering this: If Google has already done it and is currently doing it with success, what makes Microsoft think they can look good and hip by saying "Oh hey, Mr. Media? We can do it too! Um, just give us 5 years… and give us loads of cash to do it."

And so, we go back to seeing Old Man Gates, sitting on the park bench, watching Google do back-flips to attract the cool businesses. Old Man Gates says "In terms of Google, not to overstate it, but they really don't understand the needs of business. For most Google products, the day they announce them is their best day."

Do I detect jealousy in that statement?

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About Jamison BraIy

  • Thanks for mentioning “Mr. Media,” but do you mind if I add the link? Just in case Microsoft or Google wants to get in touch, of course!
    Bob Andelman

  • HAHA! Was meant to be generic, but feel free to link 🙂 thanks for reading!

  • Peter

    Who says Google is such a paradigm of computer democracy and everything good. Should you not be worried about handling over your mission critical email functions without significant support? You need a voice at the other end of the line when problems happen. Hope Microsoft can rise to occasion like some of its Gold Certified Partners that are currently reselling hosted messaging and collaboration services such as private label Exchange Server 2007 and private label SharePoint 3.0. They have an interesting take on all this that you should look at.

  • Actually, Google has wonderful support for even their FREE software like Apps and Gmail. Their group forums are moderated by Google employees and answers are loads faster than waiting on hold for Microsoft. Have you ever tried to call Microsoft with a problem? I have. No, I am not a HUGE company. We have 300 computers and 7 servers, all Running a current version of Windows. After extreme hold times, rather than hear the rep say “Sounds like we need to issue a fix for that” they robotically say “It is not Microsofts issue, please see your other software vedors.” It is almost to the point of comical.

  • bliffle

    People who embrace Microsoft products (or any other proprietary software) must be aware that MSFT might pull the plug on them at any time.

    Go open software. Go linux.