Google to enterprises: Ditch your Microsoft contract early for us

19 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google aims at Microsoft with offer to business customers.

The Mountain View, Calif., company is offering businesses free use of Google’s suite of word processing, email and other productivity applications for the life of the business’ existing contract with another provider.

Google is making an aggressive move to grow its Google Apps for Work business with a new plan that will make it easier and cheaper than ever for big companies to switch away from Microsoft Office. It’s the latest salvo in a yearslong battle between Google and Microsoft in the highly profitable business of building software tools for office workers. Microsoft, with the Office suite it cobbled together over three decades, dominated the business of selling office-worker software when Google began making inroads in the late 2000s with its own Web-based email and document tools. But since you sign up in advance, it means that customers can sometimes end up paying for services they don’t actually need, for the entire three-year span of the deal. It also means that most companies don’t even look at alternatives like Google Apps, since they have to pay for Microsoft Office during their EA’s term no matter what.

Google will also pay $25 per user to help defray the cost of switching software providers. “We’ve been working on being enterprise-ready for the last decade,” Rao said. “We’re at the point where we’re not only ready, but better for companies. Moreover, Google knows that a lot of companies rely on trusted resellers for help buying and deploying their business software, from small local IT contractor shops all the way up to global mega-firms like Accenture or Price Waterhouse Cooper. Data from Okta, a San Francisco company that manages office workers’ logins to Internet services, showed Google’s Apps leading among its corporate customers until a surge late last year made Office 365 the most popular productivity tool among its customers.

However, it’s unclear what portion of that gain came as businesses switched from Google to Microsoft, rather than desktop Office customers signing up for the Web variant for the first time. And in a global sense, Google’s Rao says that there are over 600 companies outside the United States that are using Google Apps with over 10,000 paying users.

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