Article that's interesting both for the story of MS displacing Google and knocking the bloom off the vine there, but also because the reporter may perhaps not understand the market dynamics that are typically in play when competing with Redmond....

Word on the high-tech street is that Microsoft is giving Serena Software its Business Productivity Online Standard Suite for free for three years, is migrating the company over from Google Apps for free and is providing a great discount on the overall enterprise agreement. Did anyone ever think the world would see Microsoft giving away software for free? Of course not, and that's why the idea sounds a little suspect.
Actually, from what I hear, this "free" offer comes all the time, where the CIO/CFO conveniently forget how much money they spend overall with Microsoft and how many years they are locked in to those agreements and how much value they've received for all that investment.

At any rate, Google seems to have fallen on its features, too:
"In my opinion, Google's contacts [functionality] is nonexistent," said Brister, who noted Serena went with Google because it was the only credible company offering cloud collaboration at the time. "It's also their lack of professional customer support. Enterprise counts for 2 to 3 percent of their business and I think they put 2 to 3 percent of their effort into it, whereas enterprise is Microsoft's wheelhouse."

He also said users who forwarded an e-mail with an attachment while Gmail was offline would sometimes have that attachment stripped--without warning--when it arrived at its destination. Google's support team told Serena to disable the offline feature in Gmail, an untenable solution in Brister's opinion.

There were other issues, but Brister said on balance the rate of maturity slowed for Google Apps, whereas Microsoft picked up the pace with BPOS.

"Google just hasn't matured to the point that we would have expected by now, and frankly Microsoft is a way better fit for us," said Brister, who was actively testing Google Apps 18 months before deploying it to his company's 800 employees.
Link: eWeek: Google Apps Replaced by Microsoft for Immature Products, Service, Serena Says >

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