The ongoing war between Microsoft and Google over cloud-based email and collaboration tools just got kicked up a notch thanks to a recent story by the Wall Street Journal that indicates Google has signed a tentative agreement with automotive supergiant General Motors to move 100,000 employees to Google "email and online-collaboration software."
Google and Microsoft have been locked in a bitter struggle over cloud-based email and office productivity tools for the last year or so, with Google leveraging Gmail and Google Apps to slowly gain ground against Microsoft's still-overwhelming dominance in the office email and productivity application space, anchored by Exchange and Office, respectively. Microsoft ratcheted up the pressure on Google earlier this year when it rolled out Office 365, its largely cloud-based answer to Gmail and Google Apps. (Note: See our Office 365 vs. Google Apps webinar for multiple perspectives on both solutions.)
The Wall Street Journal also references unnamed sources familiar with the deal that said the contract requires "Google to meet certain requirements before GM makes a final decision to deploy the software." If Google does manage to win a contact with GM, it would be one of the largest Google Apps business deployments to date and serve as a counterpoint to recent difficulties Google has experienced attempting to deliver on promises made in a contract with the City of Los Angeles awarded two years ago.
Competition is always good for the consumer, so the aggressive back and forth between Microsoft and Google over their competing cloud offerings makes for better products and provides better value for customers. It’s also makes for a very entertaining spectator sport. Popcorn, anyone?