It took the Burton Group over 50 pages to explain that Google Apps is no Microsoft Office? As InformationWeek's John Soat reminds us, the CIOs who are Burton Group's desired readers of this type of analysis didn't think it was.
Neither did Google (even Google employees don't use Google Apps instead of Office -- they use both), and neither did Microsoft. Redmond doesn't like Google Apps, of course, but after perusing the Burton report and a brief collective "HA ha," the Microsoft hive most likely got busy again trying to figure out what's coming next -- not what we all already know.
Perhaps CIOs aren't quite as certain of Google's future as an enterprise software provider -- another key point covered in Burton's "Google Apps in the Enterprise: A Promotion-Enhancing or Career-Limiting Move for Enterprise Architects?" And certainly, many of them are still getting their heads around what the software-as-a-service delivery model is going to mean, exactly, for the software industry, their current vendors and software stacks, and their companies.
The list of the benefits of SaaS is long and strong, granted, but whether you call them skeptics or realists, some CIOs are having a hard time letting go of traditional licensing structures, and some are not convinced that the stellar cost savings will be realized.
Early adopters are finding that the final bill (or rather, the ongoing bill) for SaaS is nothing if not flexible -- which can be either a positive or a negative. Some things never change.
But some things do. PCWorld.com reports that the report says Microsoft, with one foot in the traditional software vendor camp and one in SaaS, will come out with both stronger market position and branding. That's assuming that Google, with a more agile business model and more agile (less bloated) apps, doesn't end up taking requests and advice from its users on the features that they really need and will use to create a low-cost, fairly customized SaaS desktop app bundle that will catch the eyes of both CIOs and Microsoft.