Monday, March 09, 2009

Microsoft Exchange vs. Google for the New Campus E-Mail System

Now that the Presidential Search is finally over, TDR has been hearing whispers-a-plenty about the search for a new e-mail system to replace BlitzMail. Although the survey distributed via Blitz offered a variety of options for students to choose from, it turns out the only two options that have ever been seriously considered are Microsoft Exchange and Google. Neither the two choices nor the administration's ignoring student input should come as a surprises. Microsoft has been reportedly wining and dining (literally) Ellen Waite-Franzen, Dartmouth's CIO, and the IT department is leaning heavily in Microsoft's direction. However, far more students are familiar with Google's solutions (such as GMail, Google Documents, Google Calendar). It'll be interesting to see where this one goes.


CTRL-F you, Outlook said...

Is there any MS Exchange Server client that is not awful? Switching from Blitz to Outlook or Lotus Notes would be a huge mistake. It would cause immense frustration and drain hundreds of thousands of dollars in support costs each year.

I have used Blitzmail client and Web versions, Gmail, and Outlook for years and have nothing but loathing for Outlook, so much that it's caused me to lose respect for the organization that foisted it upon me and my colleagues.

Although every developer in the world (including the developers of most MS products) makes CTRL-F the shortcut for the "find" command, for example, Outlook sets that shortcut to forward whatever message happens to be highlighted in the in-box. The authors of Outlook applied this kind of cleverness to everything they touched.

ballmer said...

you must be smoking crack if you think that outlook is worse than the blitzmail client. the blitzmail client is hilariously archaic and extremely unstable.

Anonymous said...

This is hardly surprising, considering how much money Bill Neukom has given to the school.

john cocktosin said...

Just look at how much money Bill Neukom has donated to the school, and how he earned that money.

Anonymous said...

This is a sad pass which the College has come to.

The College had the opportunity to commercialize Blitz, and create value, real money value, which could have affected the bottom line of the budget every year.

Instead, the opportunity was frittered away. Rich Brown (whom I still see walking the streets of Hanover now and then): I wonder what your thoughts on all this may be?

As for MS vs Goog vs whatever: This 'controversy' or 'choice' has long since been made. Bill Neukom's influence, combined with the Windows-driven imperatives of Tuck School and DHMC, will ensure Dartmouth becomes ever more a MS campus. UG utility be damned.

It's not right. But it's a foregone conclusion.

jobs said...

The needs of Tuck and DHMC are dramatically different than the needs of UGs. Blitz is a cultural tool for UGs. It spans, or transcends, the gap between cell TXT and conventional (Outlook) email.

It would be more appropriate if every UG were given an iPhone at matriculation. Apple is far ahead of MS in terms of apps which take the cultural/coolness of Blitz, and take it one or two orders of magnitude beyond. Apple is, as we speak, developing Dartmouth-specific apps for iPhone; I don't see the same from MS. Zune will never rival iPod, and a Zune-based phone will never top iPhone.

CTRL-F said...

@ ballmer: I haven't used the Blitz desktop client in ten years. I was critiquing the design of Outlook and implicitly comparing it to Gmail, which is the other choice according to the post.

But let's try comparing them. Blitz looks dated, but its design is clear and uncluttered. Outlook is hopelessly jumbled, contradictory, and inconsistent. Just look at the bizarre search function. It has two blanks but only one can be typed in. Immediately after you click "find now" it always returns the same result: no items found. Check back later to see if that's changed.

By the way, Outlook can be unstable too. My copy crashes whenever I click the "show desktop" button in the toolbar. The other running programs remain active.

@ anonymous: Dartmouth's chance to commercialize Blitzmail passed a dozen years ago or more. Reed College was the only taker. Bill Neukom is a lawyer, not a Microserf, and he is off the Board.

gatez said...

@jobs: apple is not developing dartmouth-specific apps for the iphone. this is a lie. it is possible that third-party developers are, but definitely not apple.

jobs said...

it is true, according to my information. will know more next week.

waz said...

@jobs: Why would Apple and not Dartmouth or a third party develop an app for Dartmouth? Are you referring to some kind of higher-ed program that Apple will market to universities?