City of Boston Drops Microsoft Exchange For Gmail and Other Google Apps

It looks like Microsoft has lost another customer to Google. This time, it’s the city of Boston, which is shifting its roughly 20,000 employees from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps for Business. The Boston Globe reports that mayor Thomas M. Menino has been pushing hard for technological innovation in the city (despite personally being a hardcore luddite), and this change is part of that evolution.

There’s an argument to be made (and Microsoft is making it) about whether a strictly cloud-based SaaS offering has enough security for enterprises versus Microsoft’s mix of locally-installed software and online services is better or worse, and it’s debatable whether the cloud service is worth it in part because all of the software updates are automatically sent from Google on high via the Internet.

Google Apps for Business

There’s also the debate about whether Google Apps are powerful enough compared to Microsoft, not to mention whether employees accustomed to one set of applications will feel about having to learn another. However, those arguments have taken a back seat, at least in Boston, to the city’s bottom line: Although it will cost around $800,000 to switch over to Google Apps, the move will save the city about $280,000 a year over Microsoft Exchange.

Boston Skyline
Boston Skyline

Google says that some 5 million businesses worldwide now use Google Apps, and the Boston Globe says that number includes the U.S. Department of the Interior, Colorado, Princeton University, and soon, even the New York Times.