Google Goes After Microsoft Exchange Server Customers

Google is ratcheting up its efforts to woo Microsoft customers with what it says is a simple, four-step migration process to its cloud-based suite of applications.

The search giant’s Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange, launched Wednesday, is a server-side tool designed to migrate a company’s e-mail, calendar and contact data from Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) popular e-mail server to Google Apps without making the process a time-intensive chore for administrators. In a presentation on Tuesday, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) showed just four screens an IT administrator must complete to perform a migration, and pointed to businesses that used the tool successfully to leave Exchange.

“It’s a complicated effort to move between two enterprise systems,” Myles Weber, director of professionals services at Business Process Management software supplier Appian, said in a statement. “Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange allowed us to migrate 10 years of e-mail, calendar and contact data for every current user from Exchange 2003 to Apps with limited resources in a tight time frame.”

Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange works with Exchange 2003 and 2007, and both on-premises and hosted Exchange. Google said it’s free to Google Apps Premier and Education Edition customers.

The release is the latest effort by Google focused on facilitating migration from competing business productivity suites to Google Apps. Last June, Google released Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, a plug-in that lets seasoned Outlook users maintain Outlook’s interface as a front-end to Google Apps. A month later, it debuted Google Apps Migration for Lotus Notes.

But Google’s rivals haven’t remained idle in embracing the cloud for their own suites. Microsoft, for instance, has its own cloud offering of applications called the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), which includes Microsoft Exchange Online.

Still, Google is betting that by lowering the hurdles to switching, it’ll find plenty of customers willing to make the transition from Exchange.

Google Product Manager Abhishek Bapna said companies have the option to do a phased-in migration, and the Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange tool can handle hundreds of users at a time.

“Employees can continue to use Exchange during the migration without interruption or any involvement on their part,” Bapna said in a draft blog post slated to go live Wednesday, which was sent to in advance.

Google Apps Premier and Education Edition customers can find the migration tool here.

In addition to unveiling the new migration tool, the search giant also announced two new customers for its Apps Suite, National Geographic and Konica Minolta U.S.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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