Microsoft has a long history with CIOs. Google is one of the most trusted brands on earth. TechRepublic's CIO Jury ruled on which one IT trusts more.———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
Google has gotten much more aggressive about expanding beyond Web search in 2009. The area where Google is placing its biggest bet is in business applications, a traditional Microsoft stronghold with Exchange on the server side and Microsoft Office on the client side.
Google is making the pitch to businesses that it can save them money, speed up deployments, and provide users with a simpler experience. The search giant has launched a its "Go Google" ad campaign and trotted out the University of Notre Dame and the City of Los Angeles as examples of two big organizations that have made the move to Google Apps.
The primary obstacle Google has to overcome is to convince IT leaders to transfer company data from internal servers to the Google data centers, with all of the security, privacy, and compliance risks that such a move entails. So this type of decision really comes down to trust. Do CIOs trust Google?
We decided to examine that question. On October 20, TechRepublic polled its 90-member panel of U.S. IT executives and asked, "Who do trust more as a technology partner, Microsoft or Google?" The jury - made up of the first 12 respondents - voted 8-4 in favor of Microsoft.
The CIO Jury for this verdict was:
- Chuck Codling, Director of Infrastructure for Rocky Brands, Inc.
- Chuck Musciano, CIO of Martin Marietta Materials
- Jeff Relkin, Director of IT for Quadel
- Jeanne DeVore, Head of IT for Chicago Shakespeare Theater
- Brian Stanek, VP of IT for NAMICO
- Michael Hanken, VP of IT for Multiquip Inc.
- David Van Geest, Director of IT for The Orsini Group
- Ingo Dean, IT Director of EastWest Institute
- Brian Terry, VP of IT for Constitution Corporate Federal Credit Union
- Olaf Lund, Director of IT for Lincoln Financial Media
- Jeff Cannon, CIO of Fire and Life Safety America
- Michael Stoyanovich, CIO of BeneSys, Inc
TechRepublic's CIO Jury is based on the original CIO Jury concept developed by Silicon.com, where you can find lively opinions from IT leaders based in the UK.
The skeptical attitude toward Google was best summed up by Donna Trivison, Director of IT for Ursuline College, who wrote, "There seems to be some conventional wisdom that Google is the answer to what's been wrong over the years in the Microsoft universe. That kind of thinking may be dangerous. As consumers of technology we need to keep each and every business partner honest and working for us. Handing trust carte blanche over to Google because, as the wisdom goes, they are good citizens, seems misguided to me. If I had to pick one, it would probably be Microsoft because they have withstood the scrutiny their misdeeds have landed them. Google remains, for the most part, untested."
When confronted with the Microsoft vs. Google question of trust, Lance Taylor-Warren, CIO of H.A.W.C. Community Health Centers, said, "Neither. While some of the technology that Google has been releasing is intriguing, their track record of leaving things in ‘beta' for years does [not] lead to a [high] level of confidence. Microsoft is Microsoft. If I had to pay full price for their products (i.e. we did not have access to non-profit donation pricing), I would have to give serious consideration to other solutions."
Below are additional quotes from TechRepublic's panel of IT leaders - beyond just the 12 on the jury - who responded to the Microsoft vs. Google question. I've divided them up into the two camps, the ones who trust Microsoft more and the ones who prefer Google.
Microsoft: The devil you know
- "Microsoft. Mostly a case of the devil whose enterprise business model you know, versus the devil you don't." (Patrick Gray, President of Prevoyance Group)
- "Microsoft, hands down. They have a real enterprise track record and, while not always perfect, they continue to deliver on real business needs and their products eventually exit the beta stage." (Scott Lowe, CIO of Westminster College)
- "Google seems to be moving too fast into too many areas. I don't think they really have a focus on security and trust. Microsoft learned that lesson in a most painful manner. Google seems to have the same irreverence that Microsoft had in their earlier days." (Matthew Metcalfe, Director of IS for Northwest Exterminating)
- "Microsoft is an important business partner of higher education and tends to offer very reasonable pricing for higher-ed institutions and higher-ed students. While commercial enterprise may be subsidizing those higher-ed discounts, Microsoft also invests heavily in communicating their technology roadmaps which facilitates planning. Also, Microsoft's products move from beta to production more quickly. Google and Apple are both providing great products and a great deal of competition with Microsoft in many areas, and we all benefit from that." (Chuck Elliott, Director of IT for Emory University School of Medicine)
- "Microsoft. Google, to me, tends to be intrusive and to urge the consolidation of data in remote locations, often before such a move is proven safe or secure. Microsoft just wants our money." (David Wilson, Director of IT for VectorCSP)
- "Microsoft. We are not, nor will we be in the foreseeable future, involved in the 'cloud' as an integral part of our internal IT offerings." (David Van Geest, Director of IT for The Orsini Group)
Google: More open, more hungry
- "Google. Because between the two, so far, Google hasn't screwed me with 'comply or die' campaigns and there seems, for now, to be an effort on cross platform compatibility on Google's part, whereas Microsoft wants to be all or nothing." (Martin Szalay, Director of IT for FWE Co)
- "Google. They're more hungry." (James Riner, CIO for R and R Images)
- Google's campaign for Apps doesn't address the IT data elephant in the room (ZDNet)
- The promise of Google Apps includes a shrinking IT staff (Ars Technica)
- Google Apps campaign: How not to influence IT experts (RedWriteWeb)
- "Go Google" billboard campaign (OAAA.org)
- Gone Google - Google Apps billboards (YouTube)
Would you like to be part of TechRepublic's CIO Jury and have your say in the hottest issues for IT departments? If you are a CIO, CTO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and you want to be part of TechRepublic's CIO Jury pool, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Jason Hiner has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Jason Hiner is Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.