Internet titan Google began selling an online suite of business software in a new challenge to software powerhouse Microsoft.
“Google Apps Premier Edition” packages communication and collaboration programs that are hosted on the internet giant’s computers and available to use by businesses for a 50-dollar annual fee.
In contrast to the Microsoft model that requires companies to buy software, install it on machines and maintain it, Google will tend to the programs on its servers and customers will access them via the internet.
The shift to applications being hosted online instead of on home or business computers is considered a defining characteristic of “web 2.0,” or the second-generation internet.
“Businesses are looking for applications that are simple and intuitive for employees, but also offer the security, reliability and manageability their organizations require,”
Google vice president Dave Girouard said.
“With Google Apps, our customers can tap into an unprecedented stream of technology and innovation at a fraction of the cost of traditional installed solutions.”
Google Apps was launched as a free service in August last year and includes programs for webmail, spreadsheets, instant messaging, calendar, internet telephony, and customizing online domains.
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