With Potential GM Deal Looming, Microsoft Lashes Out at Google

Against the backdrop of an apparent deal between General Motors and Google that could see 100,000 employees of the car maker adopt the online giant's cloud-based productivity wares, Microsoft's Office 365 chief has come out firing. Microsoft Senior Director Tom Rizzo says that Google's products are poorly planned and that the company drops support for older browsers too quickly.

"Google's products are like spaghetti," Rizzo noted in a blog post last week. "Google throws them up against the wall to see if they stick ... The recent killing of Google Labs is ironic to me. Google releases experimental products and tracks adoption to determine whether to continue providing them."

Rizzo also drew a comparison between Microsoft's predictable and lengthy support policies and Google's policy of silently killing off its own products and not supporting older web browser versions. According to Google's own documentation, the online giant supports only the latest and previous version of each web browser, dropping support for "the third-oldest version" and older.

This isn't the first time this year that Rizzo has had some choice words for Google. As I noted in a May editorial, Office 365 vs. Google Apps: Microsoft Comes Out Firing, Rizzo isn't shy about speaking his mind when it comes to Google. "Google Apps are failing," he told me six months ago. "If I had to give them a grade, it would be an F. They're just throwing darts at the wall."

The General Motors deal hasn't been confirmed, but The Wall Street Journal cited sources close to the discussion in a news article just a few days ago. According to the report, Google must meet certain requirements before GM will sign up for Google Apps instead of a competing solution such as Microsoft's Office 365. But one can logically expect Microsoft to work to ensure that this deal doesn't happen, so stay tuned. To date, Google Apps hasn't been particularly successful, but a big deal with GM could mark an important turning point.

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