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Google Apps vs. Microsoft BPOS – Comparative Analysis

In recent weeks we have been busy at Rustyice Solutions testing Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, or simply BPOS offered as a part of Microsoft Online Services, and as a part of Microsoft’s new software plus service strategy. The offering includes Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Office Live Meeting, Microsoft Office Communications Online.

While Microsoft is clearly playing catch-up with Google Apps, and firmly believes that they are number one player in the cloud computing, based on the independent test of both offering performed by our team, we must conclude that at present Microsoft BPOS falls short in terms of collaboration security, data storage offering, video and audio conferencing quality, and overall solution’s price tag.

One of the key differences is storage space offered by both vendors. Google comes on top with no-nonsense 25GB per mailbox, and additional 10GB for files, Sites and web storage for the organization, plus an additional 500MB per user. For example, if you business consists of 10 employees, with Google Apps Premier Edition you will get:

  • 25GB email storage per user, a total of 250GB
  • 15GB file, sites (Google Sites), web and video storage

With Microsoft BPOS you will get:

  • 1GB – 5GB email storage per user (Microsoft advertises 5GB mailbox with hosted Exchange only) configurable to up to 25GB
  • 2.5GB file and site (hosted SharePoint) storage – aggregated, meaning that an administrator can allocate different amount of space on a per user account basis

Another major difference is the quality of audio and video conferencing. We have used and compared hosted Microsoft Live Meeting and Google Talk. While Microsoft Live Meeting offered more off the shelf features, both audio and video conferencing  was not a match for Google Talk. We have used Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 web-cams. Google has done a wonderful job with a complete and seamless integration of the chat client with the email. The video is delivered encoded in Flash and looks smooth and crisp. We did not notice any lag for either video or audio while using Google Talk.

With Microsoft Live Meeting, both audio and video were the same quality as if we were using Windows Live Messenger or Skype. While video had a significant lag, audio was interrupted by some background noise, and a notable echo.

As for online collaboration, Microsoft does not offer real-time document editing unless you are using Live Meeting. Google Apps offers this feature off the shelf and provides a great collaborative environment, and extras that include coloured user name tabs within the document that allow you to quickly identify which user edits a parts of a document. In addition, the instant messaging is fully integrated within Gmail while working on the same document.

By default, Google Talk chat history is automatically saved under “Chats”, and is fully searchable. Users can always go “off the record” at anytime.

We offer complimentary copies of a complete document that includes Google Apps Premier vs. Microsoft BPOS Standard feature-for-feature comparison table. The analysis document is updated frequently. You can request your free copy by contacting us.

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