back to article Airbus ditches Microsoft, flies off to Google

Airbus is to shift its entire workforce to Google’s cloudy productivity and collaboration tools, ditching Microsoft Office on-prem wares in the process. The “decision that will shape our company” was confirmed by Airbus CEO Tom Enders in a memo to staff – seen by The Register – who said the business is gearing up for the next …

Page:

  1. Turgut Kalfaoglu

    It's about time..

    They could have done better by NOT opening themselves up to any cloud service, but Google beats Microsoft in my book.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "but Google beats Microsoft in my book."

      Yes, its slurping operations are still unmatched by Microsoft...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Pirate

        Re: "but Google beats Microsoft in my book."

        Microsoft(Bill Gates) have always envied Apple, and want to encapsulate us into a Microsoft device just as Apple has with Apple hardware, software and itunes store. but wants to go one better with 'Software as a Service' and make us pay RENT on the extortion system they call an O/S and Office software.

        We will gladly allow advertisers to parasite our usage than give leverage to that dictatorial RENT seeker.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      WTF?

      "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

      By handing all its design data to the US.

      That indeed will be transformative.

      Some will say that this is "Historically inevitable."

      Like the downfall of the Soviet Union. Like "The end of history."

      And like such "Hitorical inevitabiliites" it is also completes bu***hit.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

        By handing all its design data to the US.

        That's not compatible with EU law and I'm pretty sure that Google make sure the data is in an EU, probably even a French data centre or even on premises. G Suite for business costs money and shouldn't be confused with the "paid for by your personal data" stuff. Still, I could be jumping to conclusions just as much as you are. Best to wait and see the details.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

          "G Suite for business costs money and shouldn't be confused with the "paid for by your personal data" stuff"

          This is exactly why this forum of "experts" is so entertaining. My cat has more credibility...

          Gsuite is a fine product that eliminates many of the headaches of supporting traditional office suites, it excels (lol) in many areas too, notably realtime collaboration, which is way ahead of office. It's also very cost effective, easy to rollout, more secure (yep, all those hundreds of copies of each and every single document lying around on users harddrives, just waiting for an unlocked PC isn't exactly secure compared to a single linked web document with realtime ACL and 2FA)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

            > Gsuite is a fine product that eliminates many of the headaches of supporting traditional office suites

            I don't know why the downvote. I use Gsuite and O365 in two different environments, and Gsuite is easily the more reliable, the fastest to load, and has the features I actually *use* without bloat. For example: inside a Google Docs document you can create embedded drawings directly.

            Google's SMTP relay just works, while smtp.office365.com frequently hangs when I'm trying to send mail.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

              "I use Gsuite and O365 in two different environments, and Gsuite is easily the more reliable, the fastest to load"

              It's definitely not the fastest to load. O365 takes about a second to launch any app as it's installed locally. Google Suite takes many times longer to load. And O365 doesn't rely on Internet access to work (although some services like OneDrive do) so it's also far more reliable.

              " For example: inside a Google Docs document you can create embedded drawings directly."

              So they finally added a feature MS Office has had for well over a decade?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

            "more secure "

            Nope - security is vastly inferior to O365. It lacks fundamental DRM and KMS security features. The best you can do with GS is send out an ACL controlled URL! Good luck trying access a secure document on an airgapped network, or without internet access...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

              "Nope - security is vastly inferior to O365. It lacks fundamental DRM and KMS security features."

              Sorry, different security. DRM is irrelevant and the actual security means your documents aren't shared to NSA or Boeing.

              Although neither are good at that. Or privacy of the users.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

          Why French? Airbus is German also <G> - and I've never heard of Google servers "on premises".

          And still US Congress is discussing a law which would give legal access to any server "owned or controlled" by a US entity, not that CIA or NSA need legal access.... a FISA order is well enough to cover their butts, and of course they could even do without, until caught...

        3. se99paj

          Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

          The physical location of the data doesn't matter, if the company that is storing the data is a US company they could use the Patriot Act to obtain that data, even if its stored in Europe. I don't think this has been tested legally, but companies don't want to take the risk

          https://www.cbsnews.com/news/patriot-act-can-obtain-data-in-europe-researchers-say/

          This is why Microsoft created a datacenter in Germany that is run by a separate Non-US company

          https://www.theverge.com/2015/11/11/9711378/microsoft-german-data-centers-surveillance

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

            The physical location of the data very much matters. The movement of ane ITAR classed data into the US automaitcally places it under US Export Control, meaning it could then become an offense to export it back out of the US.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

          "Still, I could be jumping to conclusions just as much as you are. Best to wait and see the details."

          It's too late then, everything, including business model, product development and plans is already sold to Boeing and everyone who wants them. That's as sure as the Sun rising tomorrow.

          No guarantee that that hasn't already happened already, I wouldn't trust Microsoft further I can toss it. But Google is even worse in every aspect and that's a kind of achievement: Be more evil than Microsoft.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Google has chosen not to gloat,"

      Because pretty much everyone else is moving to O365. As airbus probably will eventually once they find the numerous issues and limitations with GS. There is a good reason why Amazon has books for migrating from GS to O365, but not the reverse.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "but Google beats Microsoft in my book"

      Yes Google have always been the market leader in SaaS. The problem is that in Google's case this stands for Spyware as a Service.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Great you associate Gogole with spyware. reckon significantly less risk of that happening than your databeing exposed on a microsoft platform

  2. AMBxx Silver badge
    WTF?

    Drank the Google Kool aid

    18 months of disruption just to change how you do email and create documents? I'd love to see the ROI calculations, or is someone just thinking about their next job?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

      18 months of disruption just to change how you do email and create documents?

      With the forced march to O365, I think Airbus realised they only had three choices:

      1) Home brewed on-prem with either a Windows desktop and Libre Office, or Linux+Libre Office, and some challenges around email and communication integration that might require "infill" software. Trouble is when there's any problem, everybody points at somebody else, and that the migration won't be cost free, nor all of the software.

      2) Admit defeat, pay the full Redmond tax for off-prem, limited control, everything works OK but you're paying a very full price for essentially legacy tech but without the local control.

      3) Accept that it's all going off-prem, and at least go with a cheaper, more modern technology in the shape of Google, which is probably leaner, less bloated, and works together as though it had been designed to from the start.

      Not really very good options, whichever way you cut it.

      1. Nate Amsden Silver badge

        Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

        Am curious how is google docs/etc more modern than office 365 ? Most everything I have read talks about how terrible google docs are, even people I know that use both.

        Perhaps google docs web stuff(document/spreadsheet) is better than office 365 web document/spreadsheet. But most often I think office 365 comes with licensing for regular versions of office (I know I downloaded my office binaries from office 365 site).

        I use outlook on office365(web) regularly(also have outlook 2010 in windows VM, my main desk/laptops have been linux since 1998), while I haven't used gmail since 2011, the seemingly dramatic user interface changes the way gmail operates were too much for me to be happy with. I'd rather use outlook in a windows VM on top of linux then use the gmail web interface.

        I have NOT used office 365 web based word, excel etc, no need when I have the real versions.

        Overall this announcement seems that they are just using google as leverage against MS.

        I'd wager they will have far more compatibility issues than even using say Open/Libre office in place of MS office.

        1. IHateWearingATie

          Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

          Id hate to be forced to use the g suite only. My wife is forced to at her work and regularly brings in her own laptop with O365 on it to get stuff done.

          A client I worked for used the g-suite so I gave it a go (brave, given how much my wife moans about it). My experience:

          Email - fine. I preferred outlook but that was only because I know it well, both had their plus and minus points.stuck with Google without issue really.

          Spreadsheets - the Google version is severely limited. Quickly moved back to excel in my own laptop.

          Word and PowerPoint equivalent - as spreadsheets. Terrible. Quickly moved back.

          Files. It was fine so stuck with it. One drive generally sucks, so hard for Google to be worse!

          1. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

            Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

            "Spreadsheets - the Google version is severely limited. Quickly moved back to excel in my own laptop."

            Why Google can't fix how to sort on multiple columns I don't know, but they claim no one needs it. Or on one does it because of how hard they made it:

            In Excel - select the range, click Sort, pick the order of the columns to sort, and click OK

            in Google Sheets - select the range, sort on the last column you want to sort by, then the second to last, then the third to last.... and finally by the first column you want to sort by.

            Then if you update the data and need to redo the sort:

            In Excel - select the range, click Sort (it remembers how you did it before!!), and click OK

            in Google Sheets - kill yourself...

            1. TonyJ Silver badge

              Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

              I've migrated from Gsuite to O365 for customers but never vice versa. I mean literally no one has ever asked to go the other way! I'm not saying they don't but I've yet to encounter anyone.

              Having used both O365 and Gsuite for online collaboration, I can say that O365 is now just as easy. That said, most places I've worked tend to use the full fat clients on Windows PC's and share their files more traditionally. Old habits and all that.

              One Drive integration in Office is still odd, in my personal opinion. It's all too easy to save things into your own personal OD rather than a corp shared one or vice versa and for users to then lose them (as in forget which one they used).

              The integration with the Windows Explorer could do with some streamlining too, I feel.

              I must admit I don't know what compatibility is like. Does anyone know how well Gsuite handles Office files?

              And have Google fixed that weird thing yet in their sheets where adding a £, $ or € symbol didn't automatically change the cell to currency?? Annoying as hell, that one.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

          Google docs is more modern, it was designed bfrom the outset to be web based, office is a hybrid abomination, not very good at either.

          Only today the company spent a boat load of cash on thinkcell office addin to make a small part work like Gsuite.

          It's so hilarious, I just sit and watch, eating my popcorn.....

          1. IHateWearingATie

            Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

            "Google docs is more modern, it was designed bfrom the outset to be web based, office is a hybrid abomination, not very good at either."

            From my direct experience, I would assume "more modern" on their spreadsheet app means "doesn't do the stuff I need it to"

            Office can be a pain (particularly when Excel in its latest incarnation decides that I have been using it for too long and starts munching extra CPU cycles for no reason, necessitating all Excel windows being closed and opened again), but at least it has the functionality I need. Where was COUNTIFS for so long (a quick google tells me finally been added very recently)? Why is sorting such a pain in the arse?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

          Yep, I tried opening a docx with minimal formatting (fancy header/footer, a few tables). GSuite and Apple Pages both garbled it. O365 Word Online was able to view it, but the tools to alter it weren't there. LibreOffice opened it and edited it perfectly; then wouldn't allow me to save in the latest Word docx format without losing "incompatible" formatting. As I had to share this doc with clients who use Word, I bit the bullet and installed Word. Once you get it set up, and give it sane keyboard shortcuts... it's still a pile of shit. If I had to choose, I'd use LibreOffice, and save in its default format.

      2. Walter Bishop Silver badge

        Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

        @Ledswinger "at least go with a cheaper, more modern technology in the shape of Google"

        How much money will they "save" by moving to the cloud?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

          "How much money will they "save" by moving to the cloud?"

          About $15.6 million per year. Google and Microsoft publish their pricing online. $10 per u/m * 130,000.

        2. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

          How much money will they "save" by moving to the cloud?

          Well, they ARE Airbus! Where else would they want to go?

        3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

          How much money will they "save" by moving to the cloud?

          Biggest problem I've seen with Google Docs is the inability within any of the official Google products (sync, etc) to bulk-download local backups of the documents. I may be using GoogleDocs for writing (fanfic and original fic) so that I can have the documents on whatever internet-connectable device I'm on, but no way am I relying on online storage as my only copy.

          Eventually found a script on Git that would download copies of all the documents to ODT and PDF, so I run that once a week to keep my OWN backups.

          I would hope there would be some equivalent for the commercial GDocs Suite so you don't have to be dependent on the good graces and reliability (HA!) of Google.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

          "How much money will they "save" by moving to the cloud?"

          GS will cost them $5 a month MORE than O365 E3 per user.

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

            libre office would compensate for ALL of that. how come they're not just using THAT?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

            "GS will cost them $5 a month MORE than O365 E3 per user."

            You have to know there is a Microsoft E5 which is $35 per month. E3 is not the top of the line.

            Even so, Microsoft is 90s client server PC software. G Suite is modern software... It is like comparing Siebel to Salesforce.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

        With respect to "3) Accept that it's all going off-prem", Airbus are not just a civil aircraft manufacturer.

        Therefore there will be parts of Airbus which simply *cannot* store their data off-prem without one hell of an audit trail. In the best traditions of big IT transitions, I'm willing to bet the affected projects/people haven't been consulted properly, if at all.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

      "18 months of disruption just to change how you do email and create documents? "

      If that's all it was I'd agree with you.

      It's way more than that and the mindset you're displaying is why Linux and friends have never really managed to challenge MS's dominance on the desktop.

      We look on it as email and documents. Manglement look on it as calendaring, oversight on what people are doing and coordinating staff everything. There simply aren't that many integrated tools around to do that(*) and this is the reason why MS Office has been Microsoft's actual moneyearner for the last 25 years (and why they're more terrified of Google muscling on on this than of Linux taking mindshare on the desktop)

      (*) Yes, I _know_ that the email part of Outlook/Exchange is bloody awful.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

      "I'd love to see the ROI calculations"

      It is pretty easy to do the ROI calculation. O365 E3 is roughly the same as G Suite Business, probably the most commonly used SKU. G Suite is $10 per u/m. E3 is $20 per u/m. Assuming discounting is a wash, Airbus will save $15.6 million per year, immediately. Pretty decent ROI for using one email client instead of another.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

        GSuite Enterprise is $25/user/month - and I can't think Airbus can do with the inferior options, especially because of the auditing/retention features. Airbus is not exactly your average SMB....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

          "GSuite Enterprise is $25/user/month"

          Yeah, and E5 is $35 per month... so again, assuming they were to do top tier on either platform, $15.6m per year in savings.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

      "or is someone just thinking about their next job?"

      Or in this case their previous job. The CFO used to work for Google.

  3. A-nonCoward
    Coffee/keyboard

    I politely decline to comment

    (none)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Silly move - give a US company the keys to whatever you do?

    I guess people at Boeing are very happy too. Far less issues for CIA and NSA to tip Boeing & C. about whatever Airbus does.

    They could have better migrated to LibreOffice and whatever can be vetted and implemented in Europe.

    And that after US killed the contract Airbus won for the new US tanker.

    I guess some beancounter has been blinded by the costs sheets.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Silly move - give a US company the keys to whatever you do?

      In my old company quite a few people got their hard drives cloned at the border in the US.. in a very clear targeted way.

      And no, not providing the password is NOT a good idea.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Silly move - give a US company the keys to whatever you do?

        "In my old company quite a few people got their hard drives cloned at the border in the US.. in a very clear targeted way."

        Which is why we're now advising staff intending to travel to the USA that they should go with a virgin hard drive and factory reset phone.

        Once upon a time the USA was the worst offender on the planet for blatant industrial espionage and state-sponsored intellectual property theft. Despite misdirection and claims to the contrary, this is still the case.

    2. Rocketist

      Re: Silly move - give a US company the keys to whatever you do?

      I‘d venture to state Microsoft is a US company, just as much as Google.

    3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Silly move - give a US company the keys to whatever you do?

      They could have better migrated to LibreOffice and whatever can be vetted and implemented in Europe.

      There *is* a project for a cloud-hosted LibreOffice (works with ownCloud), so they could still have a cloudy-solution yet still keep it in-house (hosting an internal ownCloud environment).

    4. hottuberrol

      Re: Silly move - give a US company the keys to whatever you do?

      Having sold to Airbus in the past, I can assure you they are not stupid. I found their procurement very organised, considered, and robust.

      However, since then, there is a new CIO , ex-Qantas, who I recall went down the O365 route before he left....did he have a bad experience with that ? (I dont know . Anyways.... Airbus will be under immense cost pressure as a result of the A380 order book .... and Brexit probably is bothering their supply chain....and a key supplier (GKN) is under takeover threat from a VC (and VC's are notoriously short-termist and profit-centric in their operations).... ongoing subsidy disputes seem to suggest the biggest market in the world (the USA) is acting to protect chief competitor Boeing (opinion divided on that one).....all in all, if Airbus are fighting for survival as some pundits suggest...well you can "blame the beancounters" all you want if they chose the low-cost option, but I'm not sure the beancounters created any of these issues causing it ?

  5. Christian Berger Silver badge

    I wonder how much productivity one could gain...

    ... by kicking out all of that office software and switching to plain text, plus some department which can layout printed documents for you if you need them.

    I mean today we essentially live in a world where all the data of a company is stored on computers, but in formats which are hard to read for computers. Also people who don't know anything about typography try to do their own desktop publishing which could be done by specialists in a fraction of the time.

    1. elDog Silver badge

      Re: I wonder how much productivity one could gain...

      Agree. I wonder how many billions have been spent on proprietary formatting and document contents since the days of tex, latex, ascii-art.

      Markdown and visual editors that understand how to render and create would be a nice move forward - forward by 20+ years.

      But how would you do the "whooooosh" animations that are so necessary to MBA presentations?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "and switching to plain text"

      Plain text is good for humans only. Not for computers. Plain text is exactly hard for computers to read - and an UTF document will never be in "plain text" - and even ASCII depends on what a computer thinks about whatever is beyond 127 (and it's utterly incapable of representing anything beyond English properly).

      Performing math on plain text data is utterly inefficient. Navigation, search, etc. too.

      If specialist had to re-create documents from plain text data only, they would spend a lot of time to understand which formatting they should apply.

      IT has already became far less efficient since web developers, unable to understand proper data structures, used only inefficient text representation of everything. Let's not go down that hill any more....

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Re: "and switching to plain text"

        "IT has already became far less efficient since web developers, unable to understand proper data structures, used only inefficient text representation of everything. "

        I'm guessing you're a systemd developer.

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019