Googles introduction this week of communications applications for enterprises has extended the software battle that has been brewing with Microsoft. And according to analysts it will likely prompt an aggressive response from Redmond.
Google Apps for Your Domain launched Monday is a set of hosted applications for organizations that want to provide communications tools to their users without the troubles and costs of installing and maintaining software or hardware.
"Its plan to provide applications such as email calendaring instant messaging and voice chatting is a logical next step in the progression of deepening its relationship with users" said Whit Andrews an analyst with the Gartner Group.
In addition to customizing the user interface with their own branding Google Apps allows organizations to tailor the service to their specific needs by mixing and matching email messaging calendaring and other tools.
Dave Girouard vice president and general manager of Google's enterprise business called the move a 'starting point' for Google move toward capturing the attention of more business users.
A Challenge to Microsoft?
The search giant also plans to add another component to the suite in an effort to challenge one of Microsoft?s signature products: Word.
Later this year Google plans to add its Writely word processor and Google Spreadsheets to the suite building online collaboration features that work across its applications. Google plans to market the whole package to large companies for a fee.
Writely the online word processing service acquired by Google in March offers users most of the standard features found in similar programs. However a few bells and whistles may push Writely ahead of the competition.
The Writely Web site which is free and was relaunched last week enables subscribers to work with text documents and store them on the Web. Documents can also be shared and edited collaboratively with other Writely subscribers.
Although it is still in beta the move places pressure on Microsoft who is striving to control the online software market in the same way they did the software industry. Coupled with Google Spreadsheets Google is definitely trying to stake its claim on the online SAAS (Software as a Service) market.
Is It Any Good?
One particular feature that has some industry analysts calling the application a Microsoft "killer" is Writely's ability to accept Microsoft's Word documents as well as other word processing document formats.
Although Writely is still in beta it places pressure on Microsoft who is striving to control the online software.
Still Writely is far from perfect. The processor lacks such Word staples as grammar checking word counts and other word processing addons.
As Google continues to encroach on the business software territory that Microsoft has traditionally dominated Redmond has responded by adding online services to its desktop software and is increasing its Web offerings particularly in search services.
We believe Microsoft is likely to respond aggressively? said Andrews indicating that the battle for business is far from over.