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UC Berkeley picks Google over Microsoft, talks why

updated 11:05 pm EST, Sat December 24, 2011

UC Berkeley says Gmail faster, more flexible

The University of California in Berkeley has posted a full breakdown of a recent decision to pick Google's Gmail and Google Apps over Microsoft's Office 365 in what represented a changing of the guard. Although not an unambiguous win, Google pulled ahead by being free, taking a fast six to ten weeks to implement, and popular. Using its system would require much less of an overhaul than Microsoft's, Berkeley said, and majority of the students and staff alike already knew the apps.

Microsoft's system, by contrast, would have needed a much larger reworking of the university's infrastructure. It also wouldn't have supported multiple mail accounts, UC Berkeley said. There was also no home-friendly equivalent to Office 365, which is primarily intended for enterprise users.

Microsoft's primary advantages were in calendars, where those with very deep calendars would have an edge, and in security. Even then, however, Microsoft's advantages were generally smaller than expected. Either service could sync with mobile devices, although Google's services understandably have stronger Android support in addition to iPhones and Windows Phone. Microsoft doesn't yet support its syncing with the BlackBerry.

The Google win hasn't sat well with Microsoft, the university's Shelton Waggener said. It has been asking for changes to the report that would more closely favor its own point of view. The requests, if granted, wouldn't change the ultimate verdict.

Running Berkeley's main messaging and calendars is both a major coup for Google, which is still fighting to establish a reputation in the workplace for its web apps, as well as a symbolic defeat for Microsoft. The Windows developer was once considered unassailable for business and institutional deals, but the rise of the web has reduced the dependency on the local software still at Microsoft's core. Microsoft typically loses hundreds of millions of dollars each quarter in its online initiatives where Google is one of the most profitable. [via Wired, image via brainchildvn on Flickr]

by MacNN Staff



  1. Chris CA

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    "Microsoft's system, by contrast, would have needed a much larger reworking of the university's infrastructure"

    Rework it from what?
    What were they using before

  1. Camelot

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "and man of the students and staff alike already knew the apps".

    man of the students? No women? or did you mean 'many'?

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Interesting but...

    This is only one University amongst thousands. The more disturbing subtext is that Berkeley somehow feels the need to defend its decision NOT to use Microsoft, almost in defiance of obligation. I wasn't aware that the use of Redmond's tools was becoming mandatory. Go Bears!

  1. facebook_Sam

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2011



    The new monopoly continues to grow in power...

  1. The Vicar

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "We don't care about privacy, as long as we can save a few bucks."

  1. facebook_Aryu

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2011


    BSD & LSD

    UC Berkeley, the birthplace of BSD (UNIX) and LSD. If you know one, you probably understand the other.

    There is no doubt the Mac platform was more strongly considered over Microsoft. Increasingly more students and faculty are using Apples (OSX is already Berkeley's BSD at its core). With Apple's apparent waning of server software, it makes sense to keep the Apples and move to Google's servers for cross-platform and server-based office software (oh, yea, far cheaper, too).

    Warning - Old f*** pining ahead: Remember when Macs were considered a "closed system", incompatible with everyone else? It's very interesting how both companies, doggedly refusing to change, one "innovative" and the other "staying old school", have swapped positions. This can happen in many aspects of life. Remaining in the herd may seem easy and safe today, but it is a very poor plan for the future. Besides, do you really want to spend your life with your nose up the a** of the guy in front of you? Take a chance - break out - dare to be different.

    Damn, where'd I put the rest of that LSD?

  1. facebook_Michael

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2011


    Stony Brook University Switching to Google

    My university (I attend, I don't own the University) Stony Brook University on Long Island New York, part of the SUNY system (Like the UC system, but in New York) has a very strong Mac population among students, and many young professors, grad students, and PHD candidates seem to prefer them over the windows machines. Each smart classroom and lecture hall is equipped with a Mac Pro (Dual boot into OSX or Win 7)

    We just received notice that the university will be migrating to various GOOGLE software .. beginning with .edu Gmail come June 1 2012 ... away from lotus notes & other MS software ...

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Deep Calendar

    Your calendar is so ... deep!

  1. SwissMac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    LSD not from Berkeley

    Just letting you know that LSD was invented and developed by a commercial Pharmaceutical company, the Swiss company Sandoz which is now a part of Novartis, still based in Basel, Switzerland. Nothing to do with California I'm afraid.

  1. dawho9

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Did anyone read the link

    Almost everything is listed as Microsoft advantage. The biggest thing they seem concerned about is their lotus notes migration and that Microsoft requires an on-premise exchange deployment first and then migrate up to the cloud. Wonder if google ever finished the city of LA groupwise migration. Last time I heard they were six months behind.

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