Google Apps Gets Slapped

Analyst cautions enterprise architects against Google Apps.

Google Apps Premier Edition (GAPE) made a big splash earlier this year, and its price tag -- $50 per user, per year for e-mail, instant messaging and word processing, spreadsheet and calendaring capabilities, plus access to associated APIs -- was a big reason why.

But in August, Burton Group analyst Guy Creese issued a stern warning to those who might move to deploy GAPE in their organizations. His report, "Google Apps in the Enterprise: A Promotion-Enhancing or Career-Limiting Move for Enterprise Architects," characterizes the Software as a Service suite as an immature offering that's nowhere near an Office-killer.

Creese notes that it's hard to say when enterprise apps will be a crucial part of the search titan's business.

"At this moment, Google hands down consumer-oriented applications to the enterprise with instructions on how to make them work for corporations," he writes. "This 'hand-me-down' approach leads to suboptimal design from an enterprise point of view, and a lot of rework."

In contrast, Creese writes: "Using Visual Studio Tools for Office, developers can write customized applications that leverage capabilities for Microsoft Word and Excel, for example. While the Google APIs offer some programmatic control, they do not offer the broad level of capabilities that Microsoft does."

Creese does conclude that GAPE could be a viable option for smaller companies or within divisions that don't require power-user level functionality in their office suites.

Creese's study produced a tart reply from Jonathan Sapir, who works for LimitNone Inc., a Google Enterprise Partner. "This is what Mr. Creese fails to recognize: Google Apps is a very different beast than Microsoft Office and addresses a very different need. Comparing the two as though one was a replacement for the other is completely meaningless," Sapir wrote on his blog.

LimitNone acknowledges Google's lesser functionality compared to Microsoft, but says in a white paper that the search titan's offerings are "infinitely scalable and highly reliable" and that the simplicity of Google Docs & Spreadsheets make it easy to build "straightforward applications that require collaboration."

About the Author

Chris Kanaracus is the news editor for Redmond Developer News.

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