For Google and Microsoft, there’s no clear end to the technological battle. Every territory – ranging from search to social to email to productivity to education to mobile and beyond – serves as one more place to either thrive or perish. While it’s not likely that either company will disappear anytime soon, that’s partially because both are so willing to push hard in each territory. And who knows? We would have given Yahoo the same immortality ratings just a few short years ago.
Of the battlefields mentioned, there’s one sector where Microsoft once reigned supreme: productivity. This was especially true in the case of schools and government agencies. However, over just the last two to three years, Google has changed the entire picture. The cloud-based Google productivity suite (Google Apps) is competitive in every corner of Microsoft’s productivity kingdom. Perhaps most telling about what’s to come, numerous government groups have converted to Google’s solutions.
One state that’s leading the way on this front is Virginia. Both the state senate and the Department of Legislative Automated Systems (DLAS) made the swap over to Google, with DLAS converting first (2009) and the Senate following shortly thereafter (2010). While their vote of confidence should be enough, Virginia IT staff have been up-front about the benefits of choosing Google, including larger email storage, diminished licensing costs, lower maintenance costs, and – at the end of the day – improved productivity. Representatives from the Virginia government staff even participated in a live webcast that went through reasons to choose Google Apps.
It’s hard to say whether this means that other government groups will follow suit. Google has certainly been pushing for contracts in every region, achieving security certification for their Google Apps suite. The more the smaller groups choose Google, however, the more legitimized Apps will be.