I am reading this interesting discussion about Google Apps versus Microsoft Office and I cannot agree more with Karim´s comments, for productivity tools, today there is no real competition to Microsoft Office and its suite of products. Reading this comes at an interesting weekend when my company is finally moving to Microsoft Exchange and Outlook for email and calendar after suffering the lack of it for almost two years that I have been here. The argument for not using it before was mainly price since we were using some open source alternatives and some software we got for free from Oracle for the calendar app (highly not recommendable). If you look at Karim´s comment, the part that I find more interesting besides the laundry list of basic features missing in Google Apps is this one:
"$120 / 3 computers = $40 per computer. Assuming you upgrade every 3 years, that's about $1.12 per PC per month for the MS Office suite. Why would I spend THAT kind of crazy money for software I use day-in, day-out when I can bang my head "for free" against the lame "experimental" features of Google Docs?"
Companies focused on efficiency and cost reduction tend to make the basic mistake of not looking at the total cost of ownership of things and only look at the direct cost of something. I am all for using free or open source software but only if its better than existing alternatives not just because is free. In the case of using Google Apps (or the situation we had in the company till recently), I am sure that the loss of productivity is much higher than the actual cost of the software by far. I have wasted a lot of company money (meaning my work time lost because of issues with the email and calendar software we were using) that is far more expensive that the few dollars per day that will cost us from now on moving to Microsoft Exchange and Outlook.
And Bernard argument about collaboration is wrong, Microsoft has a great collaboration tool, Share Point and any serious analysis of MS Office versus Google Apps should have included it.