For a company without major cloud computing collaboration clout, Microsoft has a good sense of humor regarding its competition with Google.
Coming from the underdog--if only because Google has over 4 million business customers, thanks to a four-year head start in Web-based collaboration software for businesses--"Googlelighting" is cute.
It's a video that strongly suggests Google is a search business that just does cloud collaboration software on the side, stopping just short of calling Google Apps a sideshow to the main event, but you get that idea for sure:
The concept leverages the mid-to-late 1980s TV comedy "Moonlighting," starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd as detectives. "Moonlighting" was Willis' big break; he had been tending bar at the time.
What, you didn't think Willis just jumped in as John McClane of "Diehard" fame did you? I digress.
The Shepherd character in this clip grills the WIllis character, called something like "Googen Apperson," who is trying to sell her Google Apps collaboration software.
There are jokes about Google Apps not having active spell check, pivot charts and document editing without a Web connection. One good turn deserves another; Google makes fun of Microsoft for having too many features people don't use.
It's true Google's offline access for is a work in progress. Microsoft also makes fun of Google's frequent software iteration, particularly for its beta products, and the fact that it has killed off Google Gears, Wave and Buzz.
It's pretty humorous, but is it effective? Not really. It's too campy to be effective. Tom Rizzo, senior director for Microsoft Office and Office 365 and the leader of these competitive grenades, noted in a blog post introducing Googlelighting:
"Many businesses find that Googlighting also means taking shortcuts, making assumptions about how people "should" work, and generally failing to build and deploy solutions which meet a wide range of business needs. If these concerns and current revelations about Google's privacy policies have you troubled, this may be a great time to check out Office 365, the online collaboration solution for businesses who don't want their documents and mail read."
So that's the pitch, which is a little like the company's Gmail Man approach from last summer. You have to love how Rizzo worked in the Cookiegate reference, in which Google circumvented Apple's Safari rules to place cookies on iOS devices and Mac computers.
From what I know of Office 365, it's pretty solid, but Google Apps also has a solid reputation.
Of course, Microsoft is still Microsoft, the leader in enterprise collaboration software. I must also note that in the near term, Microsoft's approach of offering cloud and on-premise software seems logical.
There are plenty of businesses that aren't going to give up all of their Exchange/Office software licenses for all cloud, whether it's Google Apps or Office 365. It's just not going to happen.
So Google may be a little ahead of its time, but you can be sure ,Microsoft will be right there with them. This is great for every consumer, prosumer or corporate user because the rivals will keep driving each other.