Author: Mike Anderson Date: August 14, 2012
Topics: Workplace; Content Management; Collaboration
Research Note Number: 2012-29
Issues: What are the technologies and architectures that enterprises should leverage in the workplace?
How will content management technologies and architectures evolve?
Who are the collaboration providers, and how will they evolve?
Summary: As people become more comfortable with cloud-based office suites, Google and Microsoft are competing to see who will own the “office in the cloud.” Here we answer some questions from clients about these two technology providers.
On the surface, Google Apps and Office 365 both feature a core of email and calendar systems with office productivity apps for creating and editing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Users can store files, share them with others, and collaborate in real time on the phone or with chat, which can include voice and video. Both services are compatible with Microsoft Office and can share or interchange files with the desktop versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint (file fidelity differs, and only Microsoft integrates with OneNote).
Beneath these similarities, however, there are fundamental differences that clearly define the battle being waged. Google Apps and Office 365 are very different products with very different objectives. Google’s aim is to supersede the desktop suite and make “office in the cloud” the dominant mass-market approach by providing “good enough” capabilities across the most popular applications. Google’s starting point is a set of services aimed initially at consumers, with enhancements aimed at attracting enterprises.
Microsoft approaches the cloud as an extension of its desktop Office franchise, with a strong focus on enterprise needs. Office 365 is intended to protect that franchise and extend it with cloud capabilities, backed by business-class privacy, security and service continuity.
This Research Note answers some common questions about these rival cloud suites. For details about the two offerings, see RN 2012-15, “Google and Microsoft: The Battle For Office In The Cloud.” The battle will continue to evolve. As an example, Microsoft, as of July 16th, has a new version of Office 365 in a Preview (beta mode). It includes new features and capabilities (see the Aragon Research First Cut “Microsoft Revamps Office for the Cloud and Tablet Era”).
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