Hosted email solutions

We are an MSP supporting small businesses.  I'm curious what others in our field are doing for hosted email.  We have tried Microsoft BPOS, which was the early version of Office 365.  We have also worked with intermedia and Appriver.  I'm having trouble seeing which one will come out on top.  I like google, but I'm not sold on a pop or imap based solution.  An real world experiences would be great.  Thanks.
mathews2001Asked:
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btdownloads7Commented:
Any hosting provider that uses Exchange (like AppRiver) will have higher reliability and less issues over time. Exchange is basically a bullet-proof and time-tested solution, and nothing can compare to it (which is why it's more expensive).

Having said that, Gmail Apps for Business is quite stable and probably the best choice out of everyone else. Especially if you just use it from a web browser, it has a multitide of features that make it much more useable than any other service. However, if you want to use Outlook with any of these services, they all use a plugin to allow outlook to sync contacts and calendar (Exchange does it natively), and there are definitely weird things that could happen over time. I know you said that you're hesitant about IMAP, but it really won't be an issue. It's really the calendar and contacts sync that can sometimes go haywire.
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Allen FalconCEO & Pragmatic EvangelistCommented:
We partner with Google for Google Apps for Business.  Beyond hosted email, we are able to provide managed file and other services using GAFB as a platform.  We lower costs for our customers while increasing margins as a service provider.
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mathews2001Author Commented:
What other services are you using through google?  Are clients really willing to ditch office and do everything through google apps?

My problem with imap is exactly what you mentioned.  The lack of a native sync for contacts and calendars.  Some clients have very complex contact and calendar sharing schemes.  

I have admined exchange since 5.5.  We use Hosted exchange, and exchange servers that i build and run.  they are pretty functional across multiple platforms.
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btdownloads7Commented:
It's not necessarily about the services, but about functionality in Gmail that simply doesn't exist anywhere else.  For example, you can restore contacts to the way they were on any date and time, which covers any accidental deletions, or if the account gets hacked, and all of them are deleted. Or the way that Gmail stores messages  and uses labels instead of folders (which allows the same message to be in multiple places without taking up any extra space). And junk filtering is by far better in Gmail than any other service.

And as far as contacts and calendar sync, it's definitely not as good as Exchange, as I mentioned earlier. But compared to evreything else, Gmail has the next best thing. It has an Outlook plugin, native sync with Android, and CardDav and CalDav for iOS. The Outlook sync has some bugs, but I've only seen them come up after months of use, and they are by far more calendar than contact related.
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