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Google turns up the enterprise collab heat on Microsoft

Juan Carlos Perez | Feb. 24, 2011
Google will intensify its attack on Microsoft's enterprise collaboration business with the release on Thursday of the Cloud Connect plug-in for Microsoft Office and with the launch of a trial program for the collaboration components of Google Apps.

The program costs $7,000 for organizations with 500 users or less, and $15,000 for those with more than 500 users. Google and its reseller partners will actively help participating organizations get set up and trained on using the Apps collaboration components.

The program includes access to a new usage analytics dashboard that Google is also rolling out to all Apps for Business and Apps for Education customers.

The dashboard provides granular stats on Apps usage patterns within an organization, so that administrators in the trial program can eventually decide how many Apps licenses they truly need.

At first, organizations were drawn to Apps mostly by Gmail, but in the past two years, Google has seen a spike in interest and usage of Docs and Sites, said Jeremy Milo, Google Apps product marketing manager.

"That's what sparked the idea for this program," Milo said.

The general availability of Cloud Connect is expected to boost this trend even further, he said.

Industry analyst Rebecca Wettemann from Nucleus Research sees the two-punch announcement as a serious escalation of the collaboration wars between Google and Microsoft.

"This highlights the diminishing benefit of Office upgrades and it's likely to make companies reconsider their Office strategy. If everyone needs collaboration, and only power users need all the capabilities of Office, why buy both Google and Office for everyone?," she said via e-mail.

 

"We see the enterprise search space in three tiers: Web, desktop, and enterprise application. Google already owns the Web, this gives them more opportunity on the desktop," Wettemann added.

 

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