Google’s Enterprise group takes on Microsoft
The following news announcement is expected for this afternoon at the London “Future of Web Apps conference:” Google will begin selling a cheap competitor to Microsoft Office! Google will launch a paid package of its document, spreadsheet, calendar, and email program – for $50 a year per account. Google’s small enterprise unit has been marketing the free version of its Google collaboration applications for quite some time and claims to have over 100,000 subscribed users, but this newest push will pit Google directly in competition with Microsoft’s Office.
The primary target for this new suite (yes, they are actually calling it a suite) will be small to mid-size firms that don’t have huge email systems to maintain. The paid account will come with all of the Google collaboration applications, as well as telephone support and 10 gigabyte of storage capacity (compare that to the 2GB of storage you get as a user of Gmail.)
This is a tremendous new development, as it marks the beginning of direct competition between Google’s “office solution” and Microsoft’s products. I doubt however, that Google will be able to capture any substantial market share, as its product still lack the extensive capabilities that Microsoft Office offers. Additionally, even if Google is able to turn its 100,000 trial users into full-time customers, its revenue will not exceed $5 million annually (compare that to the $10.6 billion of the first three quarters of 2006.)