Google takes on Microsoft with ‘free’ Apps offer


news As part of its ongoing attempt to help itself to a big slice of Microsoft’s pie, Google is offering companies ‘free’ use its online suite of apps for enterprise. There are conditions, however.

From 19 November, Google will cover the fees of Google Apps for businesses of up to 3,000 users that are currently locked into an enterprise agreement (EA) with another provider until the contract runs out. The business must sign up to Google Apps for the rest of its EA, plus one year.

Google said it will also contribute to “some of the deployment costs” of setting companies up with one the Google for Work Partners.

In a blog post announcing the offer, Google said that recent research by Deloitte suggests that there is “$49 billion up for grabs in Australia if companies worked more collaboratively”.

The post suggested that using Google for Work would be a great way to realise those savings, since the suite has “collaboration at its heart”.

Google Apps was set up nine years ago when the company “saw an opportunity to build something that would enable people to work together in new ways”. It has also been seen as an attempt to take on the might of Microsoft in the business world.

Google for Work now provides customisable enterprise versions of Google’s products using the customer’s domain name. It features web applications with similar functionality to traditional office suites, including Gmail, Hangouts, Google Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Groups, News, Play, Sites, and Vault.

Google Work is now used by as many as five million companies and 64% of Fortune 500 firms, according to the company’s figures. A number of notable Australian businesses like Dick Smith and Salmat have already turned to Google Apps to power their IT, the post pointed out.

The Deloitte survey cited above was commissioned by Google and aimed to “quantify the value of greater workplace collaboration”. The number “is big” the firm concluded:

  • $46 billion per year – the value of faster-growing, profitable businesses with collaboration at their core
  • $9.3 billion per year – additional value if companies make the most of opportunities to collaborate more

Furthermore, the research suggested, companies that focus on collaboration are:

  • Five times more likely to experience a considerable increase in employment
  • Twice as likely to be profitable
  • Twice as likely to outgrow competitors.

Deloitte concluded that over half of Australian businesses have no collaboration strategy, however. Correcting this could bring “very significant benefits” both to companies and the Australian economy, it said.

Image credit: Robert Scoble, Creative Commons