updated 11:05 pm EST, Sat December 24, 2011
UC Berkeley says Gmail faster, more flexible
The University of California in Berkeley has posted a full breakdown of a recent decision to pick Google's Gmail and Google Apps over Microsoft's Office 365 in what represented a changing of the guard. Although not an unambiguous win, Google pulled ahead by being free, taking a fast six to ten weeks to implement, and popular. Using its system would require much less of an overhaul than Microsoft's, Berkeley said, and majority of the students and staff alike already knew the apps.
Microsoft's system, by contrast, would have needed a much larger reworking of the university's infrastructure. It also wouldn't have supported multiple mail accounts, UC Berkeley said. There was also no home-friendly equivalent to Office 365, which is primarily intended for enterprise users.
Microsoft's primary advantages were in calendars, where those with very deep calendars would have an edge, and in security. Even then, however, Microsoft's advantages were generally smaller than expected. Either service could sync with mobile devices, although Google's services understandably have stronger Android support in addition to iPhones and Windows Phone. Microsoft doesn't yet support its syncing with the BlackBerry.
The Google win hasn't sat well with Microsoft, the university's Shelton Waggener said. It has been asking for changes to the report that would more closely favor its own point of view. The requests, if granted, wouldn't change the ultimate verdict.
Running Berkeley's main messaging and calendars is both a major coup for Google, which is still fighting to establish a reputation in the workplace for its web apps, as well as a symbolic defeat for Microsoft. The Windows developer was once considered unassailable for business and institutional deals, but the rise of the web has reduced the dependency on the local software still at Microsoft's core. Microsoft typically loses hundreds of millions of dollars each quarter in its online initiatives where Google is one of the most profitable. [via Wired, image via brainchildvn on Flickr]