Microsoft and San Francisco have signed a contract that will bring cloud services to some 23,000 municipal employees.
has signed a contract to port 23,000 municipal employees' email to Microsoft's
to Microsoft Exchange Online will continue over the next year, and involve
employees from around 60 departments and agencies. City executives on a May 18
conference call suggested that the initiative would cost $1.2 million per year,
which breaks down to $6 per month per user.
had apparently considered Lotus Notes and Google as possible email providers,
but ultimately went with Microsoft because it provided interoperability with
other software, including Windows Azure applications and Office products such
as Word and PowerPoint. The technology underlying all the solutions apparently
underwent a multiyear evaluation by the city's IT experts before a decision was
making the decision just about email," Jon Walton, CIO of the City and County
of San Francisco, told media and analysts during the call.
customers of Microsoft's cloud-based BPOS service found themselves cut off from
email after malformed email traffic sparked a series of message backlogs. Some
customers experienced message-delivery delays of six to nine hours on May 10,
followed by another delay May 12. For some analysts and pundits, the outage
heated those long-simmering questions about the reliability of the cloud for
businesses and governments that deal with time-sensitive tasks; however, San
Francisco officials claim the incident didn't dampen their confidence.
outages, unfortunately, are something that's happened to us before," Walton
said, adding that last week's outage "only impacted us for about four hours."
claimed in a May 12 posting on the Microsoft Online Services Team Blog
that it had
initiated some corrective measures in the wake of the BPOS outage, including
steps to streamline its communications with users.
"all in" with regard to cloud services. Indeed, CEO Steve Ballmer and other
executives have spent much of the past year taking every opportunity to tout
the company's subscription-based platforms as the wave of the future. Office
365, Windows Azure and other platforms represent Microsoft's attempts to expand
its revenue base beyond traditional, desktop-bound software such as Windows and
emphasis is threatening to ram Microsoft head-on into Google, whose business
model also depends on pushing cloud services to businesses and municipal
governments. In October 2010, Microsoft announced a partnership with New York
City's government to provide municipal employees with access to cloud-based
Microsoft applications, in what many saw as a response to Google's agreement
with the City of Los Angeles to provide cloud services to its employees. The
competition has become so intense that Google even sued the federal government
after the Department of the Interior allegedly denied its bid to update an
email and messaging system-a $59 million, five-year contract that had gone to
Microsoft's BPOS-Federal suite.
contract with San Francisco is particularly notable for Microsoft, considering
that Google's home base of Mountain View, Calif., is but a few miles south of
the city. Trust that Google will soon respond with some cloud measures of its