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Email Hosting – Exchange or Google?

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I posted this on my Facebook but got to thinking, hey, this might be helpful to readers here on the workingvo blog as well. Here ye be!

So a few weeks ago, I switched all of my email/calendar/contacts to Microsoft Exchange away from Google Apps. My thinking was thus: most of my clients are businesses and many of them use Exchange for their shared calendars, contacts, etc. I wanted to share their experience and see what it’s like. It had been about 3 years since I tried it so I thought what the heck, why not? So I started things up with Office365 to host my email on their Exchange servers.

After giving it a good try and really opening my mind to new ideas about workflow, I think I’m going back to Google Apps. Here are my thoughts:

The Good: Outlook has come along very nicely. I actually really like it on Mac AND Windows. It’s way better than Entourage was a few years ago. The iOS Outlook is pretty good too. I much prefer it to the GMail app. The service has been reliable.

And that’s about it for the Good. But, it’s not like there’s a lot of Bad. The momentum just kinda stops there.

Actually no, there is a Bad. LiveDrive sucks out loud. Horrible. Not at all easy to use IMO.

Google Apps has so many more features that it blows away the Outlook/Exchange combo for a small business. Where to start?

Robust web interface (no software to install), 3rd party add-ons that are actually useful, highly reliable backend, if you want to use Outlook as a client you can, integration with other small business friendly apps like CRM’s, invoicing, and more, and the list goes on.

In summary, hosted Exchange with Outlook clients is a great solution for a small office that doesn’t deal with the outside that often. But if you want your small business to be nimble with email, calendar, and contact management, Google Apps for Business offers much more flexibility.

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