Kiwi competition rises as Google targets Microsoft’s Office 365 business

In New Zealand, Kiwi businesses could almost be forgiven for thinking Microsoft’s Office 365 offering is the only option for organisations moving to the cloud, such is the company’s active pursuit of Google customers.

In New Zealand, Kiwi businesses could almost be forgiven for thinking Microsoft’s Office 365 offering is the only option for organisations moving to the cloud, such is the company’s active pursuit of Google customers.

Triggered by the launch of a nationwide campaign offering Kiwi small and medium businesses using Google Apps for Work a $25 per-user rebate if they purchase Office 365 before 30 April 2015 and switch before 31 May, to the uninformed, Microsoft New Zealand is very much the market aggressor.

And it appears to be working.

As reported by Computerworld New Zealand late last year, Kiwi SMBs are leading the world when it comes to Office 365 adoption, with 15% of the market now moving to the cloud with Microsoft.

But as Microsoft continues to stamp its authority on the market, Google, quietly and confidently, is fighting back strongly, armed with a 2015 strategy designed to convince both SMBs and enterprise that Google for Work can compete in New Zealand, and overseas.

“We’re ready for them now,” says Amit Singh, President, Google for Work, when speaking to Business Insider.

“I think the last 12 months we’ve proven to a) ourselves b) the market that the Apps are ready for adoption in large enterprises. Now I think is the time to actually scale that even further.”

Singh’s aim is quite simple, to ensure Google offers no less than 85% of the functionality of Office 365, through its email, word processing, cloud computing and storage portfolios.

But forget Excel admits Singh, as for starters the internet search giant simply can’t compete with its Google Sheets version, and secondly, it represents a fraction of the targeted users.

“Most people are reading and doing very light editing," Singh told Business Insider, claiming that the age of creating spreadsheets is now passing.

“If that’s the case, why would everyone always have to have Excel, etc? You have lots of users and you don’t have to licence them all for Excel or Office. That population of creators and content authors is 10% or less.”

Adopting the direct opposite approach to Microsoft, who rely on strong marketing campaigns and offers to lure customers over from the dark side, Singh accepts convincing businesses to switch is a thankless task.

Rather businesses are encouraged to buy Google Apps to compliment existing Office 365 licences, with Singh believing over time, the double-use will be gone and Office 365 licences will be diminished.

“So give people an option and overtime reconcile your associated licensing on actual usage, not just on some upfront commitment and some long-term contract,” Singh adds, during his interview with Business Insider.

“That’s the old world of enterprise software. Today you should just pay for what you actually use, not for some arbitrary number of users.

"I believe we’re ready for all of them, frankly, I would say both in the product and the readiness to support them, to help them in their transformation journey. All the pieces are now in place."

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