Google have split their Google Applications suite into four offerings: Small Business, Enterprise, School and Family or Group. They’ve also given this suite a Microsoft-style name, too: Google Apps Premier Edition. Which I suspect is not by accident, either.
But what Google Apps Premier Edition isn’t is a competitor to Microsoft Office:
“Today, it introduces Google Apps Premium Edition, a software suite for companies that provides e-mail, instant messaging, calendar, word processing and spreadsheets. The cost is $50 per worker per year vs. about $500-$600 for Microsoft Office.”
I run Microsoft Office for Mac and my copy is a couple of years old. The Mac version of Office lacks a version of Microsoft Access, but Entourage sort of makes up for that by being a good PIM.
There are other features that the Mac version of Microsoft Office lacks compared to the Windows version, too.
The point is, even Microsoft Office for Mac offers a ton more stuff than Google Apps Premier Edition.
There’s no taking away from what Google are offering, and I think that people are reading into Google’s mission statement and being interpretative rather than literal:
“Dave Girouard, general manager of Google Enterprise … says the suite is targeted to companies that currently don’t use Office.”
Which isn’t to say that these people actually want Microsoft Office. These people may just have very different needs.
I do feel that Google are inexorably moving towards going toe-to-toe with Microsoft in the office productivity space, and Google Applications will be the vehicle.
Especially when you factor in the recent rumor of Google developing a Microsoft PowerPoint competitor, too.
Even more interesting is that Google are – by virtue of their very origins – a web-based ISV bottom-up, while Microsoft are – by virtue of their relative age – trying to be a web-based ISV top-down.
Once you look at the office productivity software market from that point of view, I’d say Google may have the edge for now, but Microsoft aren’t exactly standing still…