Google fires back at Microsoft's claims of 785 returning cloud customers

Company claims 5,000 companies sign up for Google Apps every day, and thousands switch from Microsoft.

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Matt McGee via Flickr

A few weeks back I mentioned how Microsoft was crowing over 785 customers returning to the Microsoft fold after trying Google Apps. Well, Google is striking back, sort of.

After that blog post, Google came to me with its rebuttal, which included the claim of 5,000 companies signing up for Google Apps on a daily basis. I called shenanigans because at 5k companies per day, they would grab every company in the U.S. in just a few years.

Google has in fact made its case to analysts, providing them with their own facts and numbers. Someone leaked it to Forbes, and Google's not very happy. But they’ve confirmed the stats do come from them.

Some of the stats come from a Google reseller, Cloud Solutions Technologies, based in the UK. For example, CST estimates that of 12 million Google Apps users across the 20+ countries it serves, 48% were using Microsoft Exchange before they migrated to Google, while 23% used Lotus Notes and 13% used Novell GroupWise.

The Novell and Lotus numbers would indicate a lot of new customers are migrating off old, obsolete software. Migrations always come when a market can turn and a customer can be gained or lost, and Google sure did a good job of keeping people from going to the on-premises solution.

Google also called shenanigans of its own on Microsoft's claims. Microsoft's slide listed a number of institutions, from private sector to higher education to government, and Google said a few are still customers.

  • Smithfield Foods is still using Google Apps and renewed in March 2014.
  • City of Edmonton: The City of Edmonton is definitely still using Google Apps. Google claimed the city's CIO recently declared that they are staying with Google Apps after an exhaustive analysis by IBM and Deloitte.
  • University of Colorado Health: The University of Colorado was never an Apps client. The University of Colorado at Boulder is 100% Apps for all students. The faculty and staff still continue to use Microsoft on-premise but are considering moving to Apps in order to better collaborate with students.
  • Arysta Lifescience: Arysta Lifescience was a Postini customer but was never an Apps customer.
  • Dixons Retail: Was never a deployed Apps customer.
  • Anhanguera Educacional: Ananhguera Educacional was an Apps customer that was acquired by Kroton Educational, which uses Microsoft.
  • Guardian Insurance: Guardian Insurance decided not to renew in March 2014. They are rolling out Office 365 to the corporate users and will then replace Apps for the brokers in a year.

So, what to make of it? Microsoft did offer something of a reply:

"We continue to see incredible momentum with companies in industries as diverse as education, healthcare, retail, agriculture and utilities choosing Microsoft.  While the companies highlighted at our annual partner conference are Office 365 customers, they are at different stages of deployment with historically diverse productivity environments. The logos depicted are not all pure win-backs, but represent significant wins for Microsoft in competitive circumstances.  Based on public records, the 785 customers moved some or all of their email solutions away from Google."

In the end, of course, wins are only important to the vendor. Users’ satisfaction with the products is what counts. So, clients of either firm, are you satisfied?

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