Microsoft has upped the ante in its ongoing war of words with search giant Google, by describing its Office 365 package as a "Google butt-kick".
Over the course of this week's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Los Angeles, the vendor has repeatedly lauded the success of the latest version of its online productivity suite, Office 365.
The product was launched at the end of last month and provides subscribers with online access to the latest versions of Microsoft's Office, Sharepoint, Exchange and Lync.
The firm claims to have sold five million Office 365 licences to date, and that 50,000 companies worldwide are trialling the product.
During a combative WPC keynote yesterday, Kevin Turner, Microsoft's chief operating officer, said the launch of Office 365 means its partners should never lose out on a deal to Google Apps.
"I can describe Office 365 in two words, technically three, [and] it is nothing but a Google butt-kick," said Turner.
"Every customer knows it – [you only have to] look at some of the customers we have rescued from Google. These are win-backs; customers that made a mistake."
Referencing headlines from the past two to three years, Turner said many had predicted that Microsoft's business would stall in the face of Google, but insisted that has not been the case.
"We have had some very competitive battles where Google is in the lead, but when we show up with our partners, they do not win in the messaging and collaboration space," stressed Turner.
"Microsoft and our partners should not lose a deal to Google. Full stop."
He also alluded to the fact that Google's reported $50 (£31)-per-year, per-user pricing model may not be all that it seems.
"We have uncovered, when doing some of these win-backs, that there are a lot of hidden annual costs and one-time costs [with Google Apps], and we will provide you with more information like this for when you [partners] have these conversations with customers," he explained.
"That $50-per-year, per-user [price] is just the tip of the iceberg, when related to what customers are actually being charged."
Google was not the only one of Microsoft's competitors to receive a verbal battering, as Turner also used his keynote to take pot shots at VMware, IBM and Oracle.
For example, he claimed the firm's Exchange platform was responsible for 4.5 million Lotus Notes users leaving IBM over the past year, and that Microsoft partners should seize on Oracle's "lack of customer focus" to win new business.
As for VMware, Turner claimed it has made more progress in its bid to wrest market share from its clutches than against any other of its competitors.
"We have made a lot of progress this past year. We are growing at almost two times the rate in market share verses VMware and are now up to 23 points from zero just a few years ago," he said.
However, despite his competitive statements, Turner said Microsoft was delighted to have its rivals around to keep the firm and its partners on their toes.
"We have some phenomenal competitors out there and I am grateful for them as every single one of them makes us better," said Turner.
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