June 27, 2011, 4:44 PM — Microsoft's launch of Office 365 has Google feeling pressure to explain why businesses should use Gmail and Google Docs instead of Microsoft's cloud-based Exchange, SharePoint, Lync and Office.
Google Apps is one of the top market forces pushing Microsoft into offering online-only versions of its major business productivity products, but Google hasn't significantly cut into Microsoft's office products market share.
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With Microsoft expected to make Office 365 generally available in an announcement Tuesday, Google Apps product manager Shan Sinha penned a blog post titled "365 reasons to consider Google Apps."
Sinha was the founder and CEO of DocVerse, whose technology was acquired by Google and replaced with Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, which brings Google's online collaboration features to standard versions of the Microsoft product.
Coincidentally, Sinha also previously worked for Microsoft in SQL Server and SharePoint product strategy from 2004 to 2007. While Sinha wasn't able to list a full 365 reasons to consider Google Apps, he used his blog post to stress Google's completely browser-based approach to productivity software, which he believes is more conducive to collaboration.
While Office 365 lets customers host Exchange, SharePoint and Lync servers in Microsoft data centers, the browser-based versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint don't have all the capabilities of the on-premises version of Office.
"Office 365 is for individuals. Apps is for teams," Sinha writes. "Most of us no longer spend our days working on our own. We work with others: creating, collaborating, sharing. With Apps you can work with multiple people in the same document. ... You can see people type in real time, and share a file in just two clicks. Discussions bring people into your documents for rich conversations. You don't need to buy additional licenses to work with others, or hope people outside your company have upgraded to the same software. If you have a Google account, you can collaborate."
Sinha also published a chart showing a list of features Google offers that are either missing from Office 365 or require pricier plans.