Google Apps product manager Shan Sinha was once director of strategy for Microsoft SharePoint, Redmond's longstanding effort to facilitate business collaboration over the net.
Sinha left Microsoft in the fall of 2007 to create DocVerse, a service that bypassed SharePoint, plugging Microsoft Office clients into Google Apps. Sharepoint, hesays, just wasn't working.
"Lots of people seemed to be adopting SharePoint, but few were really using it, " he tells The Register. "SharePoint was one of Microsoft's fastest growing business...but as it turns out, end users found it too complicated. It was too limited in how you could actually share documents and files."
Less than three years later, Google acquired DocVerse, and in February, the service was relaunched as Google Cloud Connect, with Sinha assuming control of all Google Apps "messaging" services, including Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Contacts as well as the email security, encryption, and archiving tools that came with the company's acquisition of Postini.
Sinha's story is a convenient metaphor for Google's enterprise business as a whole. Google isn't just taking on Microsoft. It's turning Microsoft's aging Office business against itself.
In addition to plugging Microsoft Office into Google Apps via Cloud Connect, Google has turned Gmail into a Microsoft Exchange backup service. It's offering a plug-in that transforms Outlook into a Gmail client. And, now, as Microsoft prepares to launch its latest online business productivity service – Office 365 – Mountain has called on Sinha to tell the world why the new Redmond suite pales in comparison to Google Apps.