SOFTWARE NEWS: Google Apps pose online challenge to Microsoft Office. By John Stokdyk

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The software industry's behemoths are stamping the ground and flaring their nostrils in anticipation of a territorial showdown following the launch of Google Apps.

Now being offered on a free trial basis to beta test users, Google Apps for Your Domain is a package of four hosted utilities: the Gmail email system; Google Talk, which can handle text messaging and voice conversations; Google Calendar; and Google Page Creator.

By the time the system is ready for commercial launch - possibly next year - Google is expected to include its online spreadsheet system and the Writely word processor within the bundle, in a direct pitch to win over users from the Microsoft Office camp.

Analysts and Google executives acknowledge that the company does not have as mature or sophisticated tools as Microsoft,...

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07th Sep 2006 10:25

Oh dear
And there I was thinking I'm the only one who gets accused of sucking too much Kool-Aid. How long ago was it that readers and contribs here were saying the equivalent of: 'Free apps? Never catch on. Talking nonsense Howlett?" Yet here we have others saying the same. Only this time I think the pundits are wrong.

Google is a two revenue/product company: Adsense and Adwords. At present it is so cash rich it falls within the definition of a finance house. How mad is that? It has to spend its money somehow. But it also has to secure its future.

None - and I mean zippo, nada - of its services other than search delivers a dime in revenues. Therefore, they can say what they wish, but they've got to find a convincing business model to come remotely close to succeeding against Microsoft.

The apps are 'so-so' and in the case of the spreadsheet wouldn't make it past the front door of most practitioners. Writely is very good but it's not been touched since acquisition. At least that's what the beta meter says. I've seen a much more powerful spread with more than 500 functions already built in coming out of Hong Kong. Fantastic stuff. But it needs acquiring because people want suites.

Microsoft's killer is still Outlook and GMail + calendar doesn't come close. Especially after SAP brought out Duet.

There are far more compelling offerings around. But to find out about those, as well as what's going on with Microsoft, you'll need to pitch up to Office 2.0" which I'll be attending, bloggging and podcasting.

Ooh yes - ought to say while I'm here - there will likely be a new and very different accounting service to talk about.

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