Boston dumps Microsoft Exchange for Google Apps

City’s 20,000 users will be only the latest to make the switch

Faced with the choice of saving serious money or buying a load of FUD, the City of Boston has become the latest enterprise customer to dump Microsoft Exchange in favor of Google Apps.

And the city's 20,000 employees won't be the last to make this move until Microsoft either closes the cost chasm or comes up with a scarier story.

From a report in this morning's Boston Globe:

It will cost Boston around $800,000 to move over to Gmail, Google Docs for word processing, and Google's cloud service for storing documents. But by dropping some Microsoft products, the city government will save at least $280,000 a year.

"The number one reason that organizations are going to Google is price," said Matt Cain, an analyst at the tech research firm Gartner Inc.

For its part, Microsoft told the newspaper:

"We believe the citizens of Boston deserve cloud productivity tools that protect their security and privacy," a Microsoft spokesman said in an e-mail to the Globe. "Google's investments in these areas are inadequate, and they lack the proper protections most organizations require."

If Boston CIO Bill Oates doesn't find that insulting, he should. So, too, should the IT decision makers at what Google claims are 5 million business customers who have "gone Google." You can see a bunch of their stories here and search by business type or size.

Enterasys Networks is among those companies recently switching from Exchange to Google Apps. Enterasys CIO Dan Pelton explains in a post on the Official Google Enterprise Blog:

We had been using Microsoft Exchange for more than 14 years and it was starting to outlive its usefulness. Tools that we relied on in Exchange 2007 didn't work when we upgraded to the 2010 version, calendaring was messy and mobile syncing was even tougher. Our Sharepoint server - the center of collaboration for the company - was just not working.

Our search for a cloud-based email and collaboration system came down to Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps. While our 1,200 employees were used to Microsoft's tools, we weren't convinced their solution fully understood the cloud; Office 365 still required us to install software and hardware. Google Apps was entirely cloud-based and offered everything we needed with a single license - it was the right way to go for us.

And Pelton says Enterasys has saved $300,000.

Needless to say, not everyone is jumping on the Google bandwagon. Larry Seltzer at InformationWeek has an interesting twist on the matter in his recent post headlined: "Why to switch from Google Apps to Microsoft Office 365." ... Seltzer does a better job of defending Microsoft than Microsoft does.

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Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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