Google and Microsoft Battle for the.edu Market

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1 Research Publication Date: 16 August 2007 ID Number: G Google and Microsoft Battle for the.edu Market Matthew W. Cain, Marti Harris This document compares the current no-fee programs that Microsoft and Google are offering to educational institutions. It is relevant to those organizations making such a comparison, as well as IT managers interested in hosted services, the evolution of software-as-a-service (SaaS) models, and the applicability of consumer models to business. Key Findings The uptake of no-fee services from Google and Microsoft by colleges and universities is accelerating at a slow but steady pace. The actual differences between the two services are relatively minor, making comparison difficult. No-fee does not mean free we call it no-fee because organizations still need to monitor the system, as well as integrate and manage the directories and sign-on services. We expect both vendors to offer a shared revenue model based on ad-viewing within the next 18 months. Recommendations Organizations should examine both the Google and Microsoft programs when contemplating moving to a no-fee hosted relationship. Institutions should extend the evaluation of the Microsoft and Google offerings to include personal productivity applications such as word processors and spreadsheets. Institutions should be aware of other vendors targeting the.edu space, such as Mirapoint and Zimbra (for on-premises deployments), and, to a lesser extent, Yahoo, which does have a hosted offering. Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner's research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

2 ANALYSIS It's no secret why Microsoft and Google are assiduously courting the.edu community with no-fee services. If the vendors can get students to sign up for accounts, the hope is they will then use those accounts for life (as they transition from students to alumni). Students, alumni, staff and faculty all represent a highly desirable demographic that advertisers will pay top dollar to reach. The vendors know that is a site anchor, making it likely that they can also entice users to consume other ad-supported resources such as instant messaging, social pages, search and syndicated content. The vendors also want to expose students to their applications in the hope that, as the students enter the business world, they will carry with them preferences for those applications, thus creating pull-though into the business community. Given the appeal of this market, we suspect both AOL and Yahoo will formalize programs targeting this market within the next 12 months. The offers are having an impact beyond North America and Europe. They are giving developing nations the ability to broadly promulgate no-fee services among students. Google says it has struck deals with Egypt, Rwanda and Kenya to provide accounts to all students in those nations, while Microsoft says it signed a similar deal with Chile and has over 120,000 active student accounts in Mexico. Most institutions that consider no-fee hosted services examine the services from both Google and Microsoft. In terms of the core offering, the differences between the two are slight (see Figure 1), making decision-making difficult. For most institutions, the decision will be based less on feature comparisons and more on general attitude toward the two vendors. Microsoft points to its commanding lead in office productivity applications, its long history in the e- mail market and its vast Hotmail infrastructure (260 million seats versus 60 million seats for Gmail). Google underscores its experience in the consumer market, its ability to rapidly innovate using Web 2.0 constructs, its presence on campuses via its search appliance, and the suite of personal productivity applications that comes along with the service. Social networking continues to change student communication patterns, and is being challenged as the primary communication tool between students. Google's acquisition of YouTube and its close contractual search relationship with myspace continues to identify Google with youthful consumers thereby creating brand demand among some students for Google products. The extent to which Google and Microsoft can integrate social networking capabilities with campus services will be a factor in how well they are received by students and used by graduates beyond their educational enrollment. One card we expect Microsoft to play over the next 18 months is its ability to integrate Exchange which has a high uptake among faculty and staff with Windows Live Mail. Many organizations would find it desirable to synchronize directories and calendar services across the two systems effectively marrying an on-premises deployment of Exchange with hosted Windows Live. We expect Microsoft to undertake a similar initiative to link its Windows SharePoint Services teamware application with its Windows Live education offering. Ultimately, we believe Microsoft will be forced to offer personal productivity application to students to effectively compete with Google Apps. Currently, Microsoft offers its Office suite to students at a heavily discounted rate compared with business sales. We expect Google to deliver higher-level control services to the.edu community via its recent acquisition of Postini, which provides hosted spam/virus filtering, content filtering, message recovery and archiving services. Google is likely to offer a combination of fee-based and free Postini services to the.edu community, but it will take some time to determine what the right mix will be. The longer-term play for Google in attracting users from the education community, as Publication Date: 16 August 2007/ID Number: G Page 2 of 5

3 well as commercial and consumer users to Gmail, is to add new applications to the suite, and constantly improve existing applications. We also expect both vendors to offer a revenue sharing model, whereby revenue generated by ad-viewing will be shared with the educational institution. Many organizations are eyeing revenue sharing as a vehicle for boosting alumni contributions. To date, most campuses are looking at the no-fee services for students only, relying on existing on-premises systems for staff and faculty, because of the presence of advertising in the Microsoft program, limited functionality compared with traditional on-premises systems, and due to concerns over liability and risk in having a third party manage and store staff/faculty messages. Some campuses report that Yahoo has begun to offer no-fee services to the education community, but we have seen no signs of a formal program. Institutions considering on-premises deployments continue to examine building there on systems from open-source components (for example, Cyrus, Sendmail and SpamAssassin), as well as Mirapoint and Zimbra. Table 1. Comparison Chart for Google and Microsoft.edu Offerings Functionality Google Microsoft IMAP No No (considering) POP Yes (with SSL) Yes ICAL Yes Yes Free and busy calendar look-up Yes Yes Resource calendars Yes Yes Tasks No Yes Mailbox size 2GB 2GB Spam filter Yes Yes Virus filter Yes Yes Other applications available at no fee Support Documents and spreadsheets, Talk (XMPP instant messaging client), personalized start page Instant messaging, blogging, file sharing, real time application sharing, photo publishing, client, video conversation, alerts, IM-to-SMS, contacts, contact sharing, social networking Uptime SLA 99.9% None Recovery SLA None None Support hours 24/7 for critical issues 24/7 Phone support Yes Yes support Yes Yes Eligible to use support IT staff IT staff can use phone, e- mail for students E-discovery options Yes, for IT staff Yes, for IT staff Publication Date: 16 August 2007/ID Number: G Page 3 of 5

4 Integration and Deployment Google Microsoft Bulk account creation Yes, via API or CSV Yes Directory integration (options) API Yes via API or ILM SSO options SAML 2.0 Yes, via SOAP API Application integration Many APIs Yes Ability to embed in portal Using Google Gadget or application APIs Yes via SSO and APIs Reports available API Usage Required infrastructure None None Migration tools Delete message recovery options Program Details Yes, IMAP import tool for mail and API for calendar application APIs Messages kept in trash for 30 days None, but coming soon If school hosts recovery archive Number of.edus signed up Thousands Hundreds Number of active users Over 100,000 Confidential Marquee accounts Types of schools supported (e.g. K-12) Northwestern, Arizona State University, Nihon University, Hebrew University K-12, college, university, graduate University of Missouri, University of Wisconsin Parkside, South Dakota State University, Ball State K-12, college, university, graduate Largest account (name and number) Confidential All public schools in Chile Constituencies not exposed to ads (e.g. students) Students, faculty Students Key: API = application programming interface CSV = comma-separated value ICAL = ICalendar ILM = Identity Life Cycle Manager IM = instant messaging IMAP = Internet Message Access Protocol POP = Post Office Protocol SAML = security assertion markup language SLA = service-level agreement SMS = Short Message Service SOAP= Simple Object Access Protocol SSO = single sign-on XMPP = Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol Source: Gartner (August 2007) RECOMMENDED READING "Google: Changing the Pricing and Provisioning Paradigm?" "Free.edu From Microsoft: What's the Catch? What Does It Mean?" Publication Date: 16 August 2007/ID Number: G Page 4 of 5

5 REGIONAL HEADQUARTERS Corporate Headquarters 56 Top Gallant Road Stamford, CT U.S.A European Headquarters Tamesis The Glanty Egham Surrey, TW20 9AW UNITED KINGDOM Asia/Pacific Headquarters Gartner Australasia Pty. Ltd. Level 9, 141 Walker Street North Sydney New South Wales 2060 AUSTRALIA Japan Headquarters Gartner Japan Ltd. Aobadai Hills, 6F 7-7, Aobadai, 4-chome Meguro-ku, Tokyo JAPAN Latin America Headquarters Gartner do Brazil Av. das Nações Unidas, andar World Trade Center São Paulo SP BRAZIL Publication Date: 16 August 2007/ID Number: G Page 5 of 5

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