Everyone knew it would happen sooner or later but it’s official. Google is launching a premium service for companies wishing to use Google’s on-line app’s as opposed to traditional desktop suites such as MS Office. The premium package includes a custom 10GB Gmail inbox, Google Calendar, Writely, Google Spreadsheet, GTalk IM, Google Pages, Google Custom Home page, and iGoogle – the price will be around $50 per Employee per year, as opposed to MS Office which costs between $500-$600 per license..
You can read more about the competitive pricing in this articly over on NY Times. It’s going to be interesting to see how Microsoft react, however I doubt they’re will be any immediate impact from this, it will take time for Google to take any significant market share for the simple reason that I personally don’t believe large organisations are ready to trust Google with all their corporate data … yet!
I’ve been using OpenOffice for a while now, I also have MS Office on my works laptop. My own feeling is that as much people berate Microsoft, the Office suite is actually really quite good. Open Office is catching up, but does have a fair way to go in terms of a feature by feature comparison. Google’s Writely ( word processor ) doesn’t come close to having the same number of features in it as either of the other two, but the question is … does it need to? I don’t think it does. Most users probably dont use more than 30% of the features ( if that ) in MS Word – I know I don’t! ( admittedly I’d still love to use LaTex ).
Google’s new offering is not only a threat to both OpenOffice and MS Office, it’s an excellent example of how, with today’s technologies, you can liberate people from the desktop and deliver compelling Software as a Service Solutions, that users can use … anywhere! They’re not tied down to a single machine … and that’s really cool!
In fact find out more over at the Official Google blog.