San Francisco picks Microsoft for big cloud email contract

San Francisco has picked Microsoft’s Exchange Online email service for more than 23,000 employees across the city and county, the company announced today.

The contract is worth $1.2 million per year to Microsoft, officials told reporters on a conference call today. It’s a trophy for Microsoft to hoist in the backyard of many of its Silicon Valley rivals, not least Google, whose rival Gmail service was reportedly among those considered by the city.

The city and county will be consolidating employees on Exchange Online from a variety of different email services over the next 12 months. In fact, the transition has already begun, which means that San Francisco had a front-row seat for last week’s glitches and outages in the Exchange Online system.

Surprisingly, city officials told reporters that the incident actually made them more confident about the decision to switch to the Microsoft service. They described outages as inevitable no matter the email system, and pointed out that they were able to lean on the company for a solution rather than deal with the problem themselves.