Google's decision to offer email continuity services to Microsoft Exchange users has received a mixed response from the channel.
The search giant launched its Google Message Continuity (GMC) offering last week, which allows users of on-premise versions of Microsoft Exchange to retain access to their accounts during outages via its Gmail cloud service.
In a post on the Google Enterprise Blog, the company claimed the service would improve the reliability of on-premise Microsoft Exchange installations ten-fold.
It stated: "We have seen in the past that Gmail can offer 10 times greater reliability than a typical on-premise Microsoft Exchange installation, and this got us thinking. Could we bring Gmail's reliability to companies currently using Microsoft Exchange?"
GMC is available to users of Microsoft Exchange 2003 and 2007, and costs $25 (£15) per user per year for new customers. For subscribers to Google's Postini email service, the cost is $13 (£8) per user per year.
David McLeman, managing director at Google Enteprise Partner Ancoris, said the product's aggressive pricing will hit other cloud-based email continuity vendors hard.
He said: "It will undoubtedly have an impact on the industry and I think we will see a lot of vendors responding to this by cutting their prices.
"There are very few cloud vendors out there that have achieved profitability. How competitive they can afford to be in the face of a company with the size and scale of Google will be interesting."
However, Mark Herbert, business development director at hosting provider intY, said GMC is not a patch on Microsoft's cloud-based email services.
He said: "We charge around $60 per year for a BPOS mailbox, which provides email scanning and covers the complete mail service infrastructure. In this context, the Google offering seems a bit pricey."
He added, with the number of end users deploying on-premise Exchange falling, the market for Google's product could soon be non-existent.
He explained: "No-one is deploying mail servers any more because they are opting for cloud-based services instead. In five years' time, mail servers will not exist and there is no future for this product."
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