A Google Package Challenges Microsoft RRS feed

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  • On Thursday, Google, the Internet search giant, will unveil a package of communications and productivity software aimed at businesses, which overwhelmingly rely on Microsoft products for those functions.

    The package, called Google Apps, combines two sets of previously available software bundles. One included programs for e-mail, instant messaging, calendars and Web page creation; the other, called Docs and Spreadsheets, included programs to read and edit documents created with Microsoft Word and Excel, the mainstays of Microsoft Office, an $11 billion annual franchise.

    Unlike Microsoft’s products, which reside on PCs and corporate networks, Google’s will be delivered as services accessible over the Internet, with Google storing the data. That will allow businesses to offload some of the cost of managing computers and productivity software.

    For corporate technology staffs, “we think that will be a very refreshing change,” said Dave Girouard, Google’s vice president and general manager for enterprise.

    The e-mail and messaging package, which is based on products like Gmail, Google’s e-mail service, has been available in a free trial since August and is supported by advertising. It has been used by thousands of businesses, educational institutions and other organizations, Google said.

    Google will continue to provide the extended bundle of software free to businesses and educational institutions. But it will also offer businesses additional e-mail storage and customer support for an annual fee of $50 a user.

    Thursday, February 22, 2007 6:26 AM