Never let it be said that Google (News - Alert) wasn't ambitious. A recent remark from the head of the Google enterprise unit suggests that the company has big plans in terms of the enterprise software market and squarely in Google's sights is the long-time titan of the market, Office 365 provider Microsoft (News - Alert). Based on said remark, one of Google's goals for 2013 seems to be to take away 90 percent of Microsoft's Office users.
While Microsoft is widely known for its Windows operating system that runs most of the desktops and laptops found in businesses today, its Office lineup is almost as prevalent. Thus, Microsoft puts plenty of investment behind these products, marketing them and refining them until they're every bit the kind of product on which it can hang its metaphorical hat.
But recently, Google Apps made its appearance, with a complete online productivity suite designed to challenge Microsoft Office, and it is offering a lot that Microsoft isn't. More specifically, Google Apps is looking to power the same kind of service that Microsoft Office does yet will focus more on the basic functions of Microsoft Office. This in turn will allow the company to get in on a very large market; those users who don't need many of Microsoft Office's more advanced bells and whistles.
Google Apps originally launched on a no-cost basis so users could give the services a try, but has recently changed tack and started charging for access. Amit Singh, the head of the Google enterprise unit, mentioned the bold plan to take 90 percent of Microsoft's business user market with Google Apps, though even he admits that there are some gaps between what the search giant can offer and the features that Microsoft offers. However, to that end, Google Apps is constantly adding features and refining operations to make it every inch a competitor to Microsoft.
It's clear that Google is trying to differentiate itself from Microsoft. Most recently, Google even cut ties with Microsoft by saying that starting at the end of January, Google wouldn't be offering support for Microsoft Exchange in Gmail, showing that a schism between the two firms is at least in the making. Additionally, Google doesn't seem to be considering the number of services already in play that offer services similar to Microsoft Office, and do so at little or no cost. Specifically, services like OpenOffice offer Office-like operations on a very basic level.
2013 will likely bring a lot of competition to the field, and give users plenty of options when it comes to where they perform their basic Office-related tasks like word processing and creating spreadsheets. While Google may not achieve its overall goal of 90 percent of Microsoft's users, getting users to switch platforms won't be easy even with a dazzling product.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein