Google Apps, Google’s software for businesses, is beginning to catch on with larger enterprises. Gartner, the information technology research company, said in a recent report that Google was “the only strong competitor” to Microsoft in cloud-based business productivity software. However, it also warned that “enterprise concerns may not be of paramount importance to the search giant.” Google’s revenue from Apps amounted to around $1 billion of the $37.9 billion earned by Google in 2011.
Google has scored an impressive string of wins in the business arena. In the past year, Swiss drug maker Hoffmann-La Roche has brought the package for over 80,000 employees, and 90,000 employees are using the package at the Interior Department. Google has remained mum about how many people use Google Apps, only saying that in June more than five million businesses were using it. This was an increase of one million from late 2011.
Google Apps seemed as if it would appeal mostly to small businesses and tech start-ups over the more than six years Google has been promoting the product. Google Apps contains applications for document writing, collaboration, and text and video communications. Google added the ability to work on a computer not connected to the Internet in 2012. Adding security and data management that comply with the more stringent European standards made it much easier for Google to sell the product to multinationals and companies in Europe.
With Google Apps, none of the software is on an office worker’s computer because it is all cloud-based. Many companies that sell software over the cloud have the ability to add features without raising prices. Even though Google has added features to the business software, the price has not changed since Google Apps made its commercial debut. Google charges $50 a year for each person using its product.
Microsoft has built its business on raising prices for extra features and services. The 2013 version of Office costs up to $50 more than its predecessors. For Microsoft’s Office suite of software, which does not include e-mail, installed on a desktop PC or laptop, the list price for businesses will be $400 per computer in 2013. Many companies will pay half of that after negotiating a volume deal for their business. Microsoft says it offers more than Google for the money, but the product has not won many converts from Google products.