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Google Gmail has enterprise viability says Gartner

Gmail has matured to be viable alternative to Microsoft Exchange Online

Google Gmail has enterprise viability says Gartner
Gmail and Microsoft Exchange Online are the only cloud mail services that have shown momentum in recent years, says Gartner.

Google's enterprise Gmail is now a viable alternative to Microsoft's cloud email for large organisations, according to Gartner.

The Google service has matured to become a serious competitor to Microsoft Exchange Online, the only two email systems that Gartner says have show momentum in the enterprise space in recent years. Novell GroupWise and IBM Lotus Notes/Domino, have lost market momentum, the analyst company says, while Cisco has closed its cloud email effort and VMware's Zimbra is refocusing on the enterprise space.

"The road to its enterprise enlightenment has been long and bumpy, but Gmail should now be considered a mainstream cloud email supplier," said Matthew Cain, research vice president at Gartner. "While Gmail's enterprise email market share currently hovers around 1%, it has close to half of the market for enterprise cloud email. While cloud email is still in its infancy, at 3% to 4% of the overall enterprise email market, we expect it to be a growth industry, reaching 20% of the market by year-end 2016, and 55% by year-end 2020."

While Google has focused on broad market requirements, it has not proven as receptive to the more complex requirements of companies in specific vertical sectors, such as financial institutions, and has also focused on front end features, rather than back-end requirements which may also hinder its uptake with organisations with complex email requirements.

"Email is not a commodity, and cloud email is still maturing," Cain said. "We believe that, for most organizations, performing one more on-premises upgrade, which will take an organization through 2014, is the most prudent approach. A less-risky approach to cloud email is via a hybrid deployment, where some mailboxes live in the cloud and some are located on premises. This hybrid model plays to Microsoft's strengths given its vast dominance of the on-premises email market.

"The intense competition between Microsoft and Google will make both vendors stronger and enable them to apply cloud expertise to other enterprise cloud endeavours. The rivalry will make it difficult for other suppliers to compete directly in the cloud email and collaboration space," Cain added.

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