Continuation on the Google Apps vs MS Office article
I read the short article on how Google Apps is starting to eat away at Microsoft's market share and decided to expound why IT Admins, at least for smaller companies, are going to Google Apps in droves.
I work for a third-party, jack-of-all trades IT company that specializes in small businesses, ranging from 2-100+ employees in the South-East section of the USA. Our clientele is best described as first-generation white collar with a blue collar mentality; they are working in a professional environment, with "white-collar" jobs, but still have the good ol' boy mentality that the South is known for. Until we came along, these were people who thought Windows 95 was current, and that the website they built with copied code from MySpace in 98' was still sufficient.
Most of our current customers deploy MS Exchange for email, along with the full suite of Office which is fine; Office (especially Outlook) is something they just can't/won't give up and will kick and scream if pointed to anything else. However, there is a problem, especially on the server side. For us to setup, configure, manage, maintain, and generally fix things that people messed up in their email can cost literally thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars a year. That, along with setting up the Server to allow for Outlook Web Access, a Terminal Server for remote work using a suite of Office Applications, and the constant problems you run into of users not being able to access all of the features adds up to a very costly bill.
Google Apps, especially for small businesses with 50 people or less, can be a very smart choice. All of the costs that I outlined above are fixed: boom. I didn't even mention the basic collaboration functionality of Apps vs, say, Sharepoint (which again, I find Apps shows it's limitations above 50 users). If all you need to do is work on a document or a presentation to send to a client, Apps is so easy and quick to deploy, it's a no brainer. That, and the (admittedly limited) website builder is more than sufficient as a basic web site. All of this for $50 per user per year which at first sounds steep, but the less employees you have the better deal it becomes. That $3000 yearly bill of server configuration, maintenance etc means you would have to have 60 users to equal the same cost. If you only have 20 users, that bill is cut to $1000.
Basically, Microsoft is in no danger of losing the Fortune 1000 anytime for the next 10 years. But the small business sector, where they actually make quite a tidy profit? It's going to take more than Office 365 to clot the bleeding.