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News Alert: Kentucky Goes Google… I mean Microsoft

Microsoft Office Logo Swish! And that’s another 700,000 hearts and minds won by Microsoft via its [email protected] cloud computing suite of applications. The unofficial scoreboard was already favoring [email protected] over its top contender—Google Apps for Education. The Mountain View hometown heroes, with their 8 million Google Apps for Education users, have been lagging behind Team Ballmer and [email protected], which boasts 11 million users worldwide. But in the wake of Google’s recent showboating over its victories in Los Angeles and Oregon, this next one’s got to sting.

While Google faced frustration from Yale and UC Davis, Microsoft closed a groovy deal with the Kentucky Department of Education. [email protected] brings free access to web-based email, calendars, document sharing, online collaboration tools and 15 gigabytes of email storage plus 25 gigabytes of file storage to over half a million students and faculty. Microsoft earned style points with the victory as well by pulling off the largest cloud deployment in the U.S. over a single weekend. Chuck Austin, product manager for Kentucky’s Department of Education, says that the smooth move to [email protected] will save the state $6.3 million over the next four years. That just manages to edge out the cost savings reported from Google’s Oregon Department of Education deal, which was reported at $1.5 million per year (times four is $6 million).

However, the real booty over which this bout is being battled has little to do with upfront dollar figures. The true prize: the promise of lifelong brand loyalty. These free cloud-based education products—which do not feature advertising, by the way—are getting the next generation of web users familiar and comfortable with either Microsoft or Google products. A win with the state’s Department of Education means scoring an Exchange, Bing and Live or Gmail, Google and Google Apps user down the road. That’s going to matter big time as the warring tech giants continue to get all up into each other’s business (literally). Android, iOS, Windows Mobile, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, AdMob, AdSense, iAds—they’re all different battlegrounds in the same global war.

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This recent win is important for Microsoft which lately has been perceived as a lumbering incumbent sinking deeper into irrelevance (see: Apple’s market cap and the faltering hype surrounding the Windows 7 phone). But with more deft maneuvers like what we saw in Kentucky, Microsoft can easily prove that the old man’s still got it.

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9 Responses to News Alert: Kentucky Goes Google… I mean Microsoft

  1. Oscar Gonzalez June 8, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    I’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. I’ve tried both and to be honest, the offerings by Google are much better, faster and reliable. Microsoft needs to step up the game, and a win here or there isn’t going to make them or break them. What will is monopolistic practices, they need to move to open formats and open standards.

    • MrGroove June 8, 2010 at 6:00 pm #

      I’ve been using Google Apps for a few years now and it does work well but what I think it’s missing is all the features I’ve come to rely on with Microsoft Office.

      I’ll have to play with the new Microsoft Office Apps which went GOLD today to see how they work and function. Previous to today only Excel and Powerpoint worked and their integration with Office 2010 was limited. You can expect some articles of course details my feedback so stay tuned!

  2. alexmvp June 8, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

    Nice… I’ve used the Google Apps and I’m sorry, the Google Sites (sharepoint version) is just useless…. Not suprised ppl are flipping to it.

  3. Jerry June 17, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    Open source is nice, but sooo boring! I prefer the bells and whistles that Microsoft software brings. I use WIndows 7 and Office 2010 to be on the cutting edge. Google apps are basic vanilla, and don’t ever change when the new technologies that are introduced.

    Microsoft has it’s 88,000 employee’s constantly working to bring the latest . . .

  4. Oscar Gonzalez June 17, 2010 at 10:46 am #

    I’ll feed the troll just a little… first Google isn’t Open Source. Get your facts straight, second, you aren’t in the cutting edge by using windows 7 and ofice 2010. That’s just laughable. And out of the hundreds of features offered by Office 2010, how many do you actually use? 3 four at most… maybe… But you’re right, if you want bells and whistles to make your computer look pretty and shiny, yes you should not leave Microsofts gazillion features. Heaven forbid you actually get something done.

    And to alexmvp… you’re not comparing apples to apples. you seriously think Google Sites is a replacement for Sharepoint? LOL. That’s like saying your mouse sucks because it can’t boil a pot of water… its not supposed to.

  5. Saw July 1, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    I always love the argument that 90% of users use only 10% of features in MS Office.

    Yep, I only use 1 feature in MS Office, and that features call PowerPivot. Tell me where the equivalent of PowerPivot in Google Apps or Open Office?

    The point is not *how many* features you use, but *what* features you use.

    And most of the *equivalent* advance features for MS Office in Google Apps or Open Office is either inferior of non-exist.

  6. Oscar Gonzalez July 2, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    I always love the cowardly comments by anonymous users in the internet. But I’ll bite.
    Saw, I know what you mean about the set of features used. Some people use some, some others, but in experience from managing corporate offices (anywhere from 30 – 900 desktops) people most often only use the very same and small set of features. Most people still don’t even know macros exist for example, let alone auto-correct and rules & filters in outlook. Basic features around since day one are still underutilized. There’s a reason why simplicity trumps complexity.

    Only power users use the advanced and shiny features, most people (aside from you and I and highly technical people) don’t use them. Also, do you realize that PowerPivot isn’t part of the Office suite? it’s an addon, and if you’re using it then you’re not the average user. So nice try but that’s another fail. Furthermore, most people don’t need to do that kind of work unless they’re DBAs or data analysts. And if you insist on comparing irrelevant things then, you can always use google charts in conjunction with your spreadsheets (thats your *equivalent*) to get visualization of data, better than powerpivot.

    Anyway, this went on long enough so you guys have fun with this thread. Oh yeah and happy fourth of July.

  7. Saw July 2, 2010 at 8:34 pm #

    Anonymous = coward?
    May I know which school you graduated from? I am interesting to know where you learn your logic from.

    Saw, is my user name where I can comment anonymously; sawengchuan is my username when I can’t comment anonymously.

    Again, comment anonymously will make my comment less credit? As long as my comment is valid, it doesn’t matter I comment anonymously or not, right?

    And you still talk about *how many*, not *what* features that the user actual use.
    We can have a general consensus that overall, every user only use 10% features of MS Office. BUT, is User A 10% equal to User B 10%? And is that 10% is provided by Google Apps or Open Office? Every user is different.

    This is a myth. It doesn’t matter *how many* features you are using, but *what* features that actually been used. And mind you, if you don’t know, Open Office also can do macro.

  8. Saw July 2, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    You mentioned about PowerPivot as an add-on, fine, how about Sparklines? I foresee this WILL be common features that average user will use.

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