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IT Skeptical About Google Hosted Apps

Google this week launched its most direct attack yet on Microsoft's Office franchise, launching a new version of Google's hosted e-mail and office-like services with a handful of bells and whistles targeted at enterprise deployment--all for $50 per user.

Enterprises might find the Google offering cute, but few organizations are going to replace Word or Excel for a Web-based application. Portability is one problem. The other is transition cost. As we point out in our examination of OpenOffice, there's more than just the unit cost that binds users to Microsoft Office. With that said, however, the Google play does create some interesting new possibilities for companies looking at thin-clients or looking for packaged collaboration tools to enhance group interaction.

David Greenfield
NWC Editor

Both Microsoft and Google are in uncharted waters when it comes to for-pay SaaS offerings. Microsoft risks cannibalizing its licensed software business, and its applications aren't architected for multi-tenancy. Meanwhile, Google has had unprecedented success by offering free services supported by targeted advertising, but getting people to pay for a service brings new challenges, such as increased expectations around reliability and data privacy.
Andrew Conry-Murray
NWC Business Editor

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