December 26, 2012
Google Gaining Ground On Microsoft In Business Market
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
It isn´t difficult to understand how Google has begun to make such a name for itself in the business and enterprise market. In many ways, Google has been there for many years, first as the search engine of choice (searching the web has long been referred to as “Googling”) and then in the handsets of many employees taking advantage of their company´s 'Bring Your Own Device' initiatives.Google has also been steadily pushing Google Apps, their software suite for businesses, in the enterprise market. Google Apps provides direct alternatives to Microsoft´s Excel, PowerPoint and Word as well as software for collaboration and video conferencing. Though Google Apps may not be as powerful or as fully featured as Microsoft´s, they exist in the cloud, removing any need for a piece of software to be installed anywhere on the employee´s machine.
Google also charges an easy to afford and easy to understand to rate for these Apps: $50 per person. In the beginning Google Apps was the choice of many small businesses and startups, but as the services have expanded and as the security has been tightened, larger companies are beginning to jump on board as well; companies like Swiss pharmaceutical Hoffmann-La Roche and BBVA Bank. At the US Interior Department, 90,000 of their employees are now using Google Apps to work with one another.
These are the numbers which are giving Google executives cause to celebrate and could send Microsoft executives scrambling to reconsider some of their strategies. Google, it seems, is gaining some significant ground.
Somewhat sadly true to their nature, Microsoft doesn´t yet see Google as a threat to their primary money maker: business software.
Speaking to the New York Times, Julia White, Microsoft´s general manager for the business division, said that her company doesn´t yet believe that Google is “truly serious” when it comes to their business software.
“From the outside, they are an advertising company,” White explained.
If Google is yet to take their enterprise business seriously, no one has told Amit Singh, VP and head of their enterprise unit.
This year, Google launched Google Drive, a revamped version of Google Docs complete with an online storage solution as well as updates to Chrome, their cloud computing platform.
“People are seeing others switch. We´re adding features. We´re building confidence,” explained Singh in an interview with All Things D. “The more our customers get out there, the better people feel about it. People don´t listen to us. They listen to our customers.”
One of the main reasons many businesses switch from Microsoft to Google is the cost of these services. Ever since Google Apps have been commercially available, they´ve charged $50 per user. Throughout the years, Google has continued to improve these offerings, but has not changed the price.
Microsoft has also been improving their products, but they´ve also been increasing the price. According to the Times, it will cost $400 to install Microsoft´s business software on a single computer in the coming year, and while many companies will negotiate a volume deal for a better price, Google´s cheaper and simpler rates are already sending some businesses to switch.
“We´ve been at the $50 price point for apps for some time, while increasing the depth and breadth of our solution,” explained Singh.
“On the other hand, the way they are incenting their customers to move is by charging them more. That is their strategy, and they are entitled to do what they want.”