CNET reports on a recent large Google Apps deal, in which Valeo - which can hardly be described as a high-tech or startup company - is switching it's 30,000 users to Gmail. This adds to a recent conversation I had in which I learned that a large multinational company is switching its 60,000 users in over 100 countries to Windows Live Mail.
In both cases, the reason is simple: reduce expenses, increase focus. Valeo manufactures components for cars and trucks. Why should they need an Exchange expert on their payroll? These are the kinds of expertise which only benefit from being delivered en masse by a large provider. A company focused on IT delivery can address complex issues such as high availability, backups and performance much better than in-house IT ever will.