Many of you have been using Google’s free applications, which include hosted email, word processing, spreadsheet and calendar services. Google has upped the offering and now has a paid version, $50 per year, offering much more support and storage.
What does this mean for your business?
Right now it means nothing. Do not stop using Microsoft Office or some other application such as Corel Word Perfect.
However, you should use offerings from Google (and other companies who have pieces of what Google is offering) as a way to test how they can be used to maximize your business productivity and lower costs.
If you have a distributed sales force or other staff, Google’s apps are a QUICK way to have almost instantaneous collaboration, with no worry of installing software or configuring servers.
Having said that, Microsoft is still the industry standard for email and office productivity applications so as you want higher end functionality you’re only going to get that from Microsoft and its huge ecosystem of partners.
The WSJ writes Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt in an interview said he discouraged “that chatter” about competing with Microsoft in the area of such applications and predicted “the two worlds will coexist for awhile,” in part because big businesses can be slow to change. But he said Google was busy expanding support and sales staff to land even the largest companies as customers.