Jerry Stidham is a Cloud Deployment Specialist and all-around Microsoft guru for us here at Agile IT. He has recently taken the time out from helping over 500,000 users migrate to Office 365 to explain some “industry secrets”. To benefit from more of Jerry’s wisdom, check out our blog or contact us.
Amazon has recently announced that they will be offering enterprise level e-mail for customers. It will be competing with two already well established entities in Google and Microsoft and it most certainly will be an uphill battle for them. While it will not likely overtake either one of them in the foreseeable future it could dip into the smaller business market and make an impact.
As part of their offering you will see email that is very similar to what you would expect from a Microsoft Exchange perspective. The ability to sync with Active Directory, public folders, and shared mailboxes is there, which is vital in many organizations. The price is affordable at $4 a seat with a $2 add on which will give each user 200 GB of personal storage for documents. In addition to these features they are touting a higher level of security to include encryption at rest for e-mail. Amazon also has Amazon Web Services that offers some of the same functionality you would get with Windows Azure, including backup and storage plans for high capacity.
Where this product may provide an affordable solution, here is where it falls short against its competitors: it does not give you very many tools in which to collaborate with fellow co-workers. Microsoft Office 365 provides a seamless integration of its collaboration tools via OneDrive, SharePoint, Exchange, and Lync. You will need to piecemeal 3rd party services to get the same experience and it may not be cost effective in the end.
The Amazon WorkMail offering in its current state will likely pull more customers from Google Apps than it will from Office365 as Google does not offer Office software that is as widely used as the Microsoft Office Suite. Amazon is taking a step in the right direction towards creating a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, but is a long way from being a viable threat to their competitors.