February 22, 2007 8:16 AM PST

Businesses to buy into Google Apps Premier Edition?

Google has repackaged and enhanced its business-oriented software offerings into a paid-subscription suite known as Google Apps Premier Edition.

The new suite, announced Thursday, replaces the set of programs previously known as Google Apps for Your Domain, which included the Start Page feature for creating a home page at a specific domain name, Gmail Web-based e-mail services, the Google Calendar shared calendar program, and Google Talk for instant-messaging and voice chat. The new Google Apps Premier Edition is comprised of those programs in addition to the Google Docs & Spreadsheets software.

Low-cost alternative to Microsoft Office
While Google Apps Premier Edition isn't yet on par
with the dominant productivity suite, the Google
mystique and the $50 price count for a lot.

The announcement of a revamped business application suite from Google had been anticipated for some time, as reported by CNET News.com.

Businesses can subscribe to Google Apps Premier Edition for $50 per year for each user account. While all of the applications are available in a free, ad-supported form to consumers, a subscription to the enterprise version offers enhanced customer support features, 10 gigabytes of storage per user, no advertisements and a set of APIs (application programming interfaces) designed to help companies' IT professionals further customize the service. Additionally, Google has assured business users that they will have the privilege of 99.9 percent reliability--an important point for the company to stress, as Google Apps outages have occasionally irked its consumer base.

In addition, with the launch of Google Apps Premier Edition, mobile Gmail access is now available for BlackBerry handheld devices. This is available to all BlackBerry users, not just those who have access to a subscription of Premier Edition.

"We're extremely excited, and we think this is something that will be good for the market," commented Matt Glotzbach, head the Google Enterprise Product Team. "Our goal is to provide an application that's a pleasure to use for the end user. All too often, we hear users, especially in larger companies, say, 'Why can't it just work like Google?' and that's what we want to provide: Google applications in a business environment."

The inclusion of the Docs & Spreadsheets applications raises the question of whether Google, which already boasts a business user base of approximately 100,000 small businesses and universities, is aiming to eat into the market share of productivity suites like Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.org. But Glotzbach insisted that the collaboration and mobility functionality served up by Google Apps, accessible from an Internet browser rather than an installed piece of software, makes it a different set of applications entirely.

CONTINUED: Competitive or complementary?…
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Which Are The Businesses....
... that are going "to buy into Google Apps Premier Edition? This article states that "The inclusion of the Docs & Spreadsheets applications raises the question of whether Google, which already boasts a business user base of approximately 100,000 small businesses and universities, is aiming to eat into the market share of productivity suites like Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.org..."; so, while the world awaits the release of IBM's Lotus Notes 8.0 (coming also with its own office productivity suite) later this summer it is quite obviously yet to be seen which are the businesses that are really going "to buy into Google Apps Premier Edition.
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Which businesses might be interested in this?
I would think a lot of small businesses would be interested. $50/year is a great price for hosted email alone. Yahoo, for example, charges 9.95 a month. They offer a good calendar and collaboration tools. And while Docs & Spreadsheets isn't Microsoft Office, it is enough for a lot of users.

Google Apps v1.0 may not have Microsoft too worried, but I bet they'll be sweating plenty by the time v 2 is released.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Link Flag
Privacy, Security, Reliability...
Other than privacy concerns, security concerns, and reliability concerns, Google Apps Premier sounds like a wonderful idea. -lol

If a business doesn't want to pay for MS Office, OpenOffice is a better choice.
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Incomplete Offering
I currently use Google Apps for My Domain and while it's great, it's not a fully-featured set yet.

So I don't get why this was introduced now... are they going to start following the Microsoft model? (Release 1.0, improve, release 2.0, improve, release 3.0 - competent version)

It seems like they should have done more to integrate the JotSpot acquisition first. One, it has some great offerings in its Spreadsheet not found in Google Spreadsheets or Excel. Not to mention their Wiki product.

And there's no mention of integrating AdSense or Google Checkout.

They should also buy Gliffy to add a Visio competitor. And form some kind of Customer/People Management software. (GMail's contact system leaves a lot to be desired!!!!!!!!) And some simple bookkeeping/money tracking software. I'd love a replacement for Microsoft Money that I could access from any web-enabled computer. It'd be much easier to get all my family's receipts entered and all my bills paid.
Posted by TV James (680 comments )
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Microsoft's answer
"Get the best of both worlds - Your rich desktop app connected with the internet" -&gt; <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.xcellery.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.xcellery.com</a>
Posted by rlaemmler (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If people want a cheap office replacement, OpenOffice
They can easily download OpenOffice, it's free. I think Google is trying to sell a product that home users will never use.

Small business really have no incentive to use it either. Everyone has standardized on the Office format, and then there is the ol' learning curve. Large businesses already have an IT infrastructure in place and they also prefer to keep their files on their own servers.

Google trying to get into the Office app environment reminds me of Netware buying the Wordperfect suite. It makes no sense and only distracts the company from their core business.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: home users will never use
I've been handing out copies of OpenOffice.org to our employees for years, but lately I've also been telling them about Google Apps - and people are interested.

I'm hearing, "It's all I need and I don't have to email documents back and forth to my office".
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Link Flag
It's the future
Our kids will laugh when we tell them how we use to install software on a disk and fight off viruses. Their world will be a place where files and services just work via the Internet.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They all said we'd have paperless office by now
I think most offices are anything but paperless.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Link Flag

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