Posted by: Rob Hof on February 22, 2007
A few weeks ago, I wrote that the launch of a for-pay version of Google Apps for Your Domain was nigh. Now, it’s here. And Premier Edition, a package of Gmail, Calendar, GoogleTalk, Page Creator, and a start page plus administrative tools is pretty much as expected, only a little more so.
At $50 per user per year, users will get e-mail boxes of 10 GB (instead of the 2 GB with the current free edition). That puts my Outlook quota to shame, and would save me a lot of time spent dumping big messages into offline folders. Ads on Premier are optional, too (and opt-in), though why any company would run them without some financial incentive escapes me. Google has also added Docs & Spreadsheets to the mix, heightening the potential competition with Microsoft Office. And the package now supports mobile Gmail on Blackberries.
For all that, as my story mentioned, it will be awhile before Google Apps seriously challenges Microsoft, if only because of Microsoft’s grip on PCs and people’s sheer habit. But analyst Jim Murphy of AMR notes that Google has one interesting advantage over Microsoft: It’s a whole lot easier and cheaper for companies to just try out Google Apps before committing to it, since there will continue to be a free edition. “That’s what makes it extremely threatening,” he says, though not for a number of years. “But it’s still Microsoft’s business to lose.”
Information Week has a rundown of features, plus this priceless quote from Nucleus Research analyst Rebecca Wettemann: “You could buy 1,600 Google Apps licenses for the cost of one IT worker.”