During Rounds 1, 2, and 3, we saw how the Microsoft vs. Google battle started and then developed.  In late May, Google India slashed its prices by 45 percent to tempt more SMB’s to adopt Google Apps.  Relative to Microsoft’s cloud solution, Google’s prices in India are now lower by more than half, which is consistent with Google’s general strategy to undercut its competitor on price (and with our conclusion in Google Apps vs. Office 365 that Google is the right solution for companies adopting the cloud to reduce costs). This move in India perpetuates that strategy and gives them the leg up on price.

But while Google may be winning on price, India experienced its third Gmail outage in two weeks in the same month Google slashed prices. While Google apologized for the Gmail outage, these outages affected many users and caused a great deal of frustration in that part of the world. The numbers themselves show that Google does not actually go down too often and in general, Google is very reliable. This particular article cites an average of only 7 minutes per month for 2012. But these outages in India demonstrate that outages can happen during critical times and that when users can’t access their information, a Gmail backup (one that is independent from access to Google) is necessary.

So it’s unclear whether Google’s move in India is a competitive pricing strategy to beat out Microsoft or a sign of apology for disruptions in May.  Meanwhile, Microsoft has not been shy about broadcasting voices unhappy with their competitor’s product, such as these employees of Pearson who believe they got “Screwgoogled”.  No matter what happens with Google, Microsoft is right there to kick them when they are down.

The winner of Round 4 - Microsoft.

For more examples of Google disruptions necessitating a backup, check out 5 instances where Google disruptions call for a backupFor recent rounds in the Microsoft vs. Google boxing match, check out Round 1, Round 2, and Round 3.