You know, it's great when IT vendors put aside their differences and work together on something worthwhile, or just go the extra mile to help each other out.
Somehow, I don't think Google's offer of backup services for Microsoft Exchange qualifies, though.
For one thing, the service, Google Message Continuity, is a lot cheaper than Microsoft's version.
It also replicates your Exchange data onto Google's servers, uses Google's Postini email backup and archiving service rather than something more Exchange-friendly, and includes links to other applications designed to provide smooth bridge between Exchange systems and Google apps (Google Cloud Connect, Google Apps Migration for Microsoft, and Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook).
Google's Outlook plugin lets you get directly to Gmail from an Outlook client, as well.
And Google has complained once that it isn't getting enough chance to compete for government contracts for cloud-based email systems, after winning the contract for a different agency just a week before.
As Microsoft gets more aggressive with the marketing, pricing and migration to the cloud of its various business apps, the competition between it and Google will get tighter.
Google has the good-guy mindshare, but Microsoft has the inertia of a business world completely steeped in its individual and team-oriented business applications.
If it really has gotten its cloud service-vs-shrink-wrapped product strategy straightened out, not to mention its direct-vs-channel strategy for online services, it could shake up the cloud and SAAS markets.
I remember people saying similar things about IBM and Novell and Banyan and Lotus and other companies, too, though, and remember the smell of dinosaur that filled the room while they were trying to sell the press on whatever their new strategy was to beat Microsoft.
Now it's Microsoft smelling like dinosaur, and a few tweaks to the pricing or existence of an online application might not be enough to paint Microsoft with whatever characteristics made it possible for mosquitoes to survive the dino apocalypse but killed off Tyrannosaurus.