By Khurram Aziz email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Dec 26, 2012 12:52 PM EST
Google Apps for Business is looking to destroy the last software monopoly controlled by Microsoft's Office.
Amit Singh, VP of Enterprise, has told AllThingsD that its competing web-based software service will look to take 90 percent of users who don't need the advanced features in Office.
"We know the gaps between our features and theirs," Singh said. "We're improving them week by week. We're going to get to the 90 percent. If you need the last 10 percent, you'll want to use the desktop."
Google Apps for Business provides independently customizable versions of several Google products, including documents for writing, collaboration and text and video communications under a custom domain name. All services are all cloud-based, so that none of the software is on an office worker's computer, and cost $5 per month for each user account or $50 a year.
Google launched the service six years ago, but this year it has really taken off, with the New York Times reporting that companies such as Swiss drug maker Hoffmann-La Roche providing the apps to over 80,000 employees, and the Interior Department using the service for 90,000 employees.
Singh says that the reason why the service has seen such wide-scale adoption in 2012 is because it can deliver cloud-based solutions to scale, with high-level security that complies with the regulatory environment both in the US and in Europe.
"We're adding features. We're building confidence. The more our customers get out there, the better people feel about it," said Singh.
But Google's investment in enterprise solutions for business doesn't stop there. This year also saw the Internet company launch its cloud storage solution, Drive, as well as its next generation of Chromebooks - laptops which function entirely using the company's Web browser and its cloud-based apps.
"Each of the things we've done, the investments we've made have given people reasons to take a serious look at us in a ways they might not have done before," he added.
However, Microsoft isn't taking things lying down. It too has been busy investing in lightweight, mobile, cloud-based services this year. It launched SkyDrive as well as a new version of its Office suite to work specifically across the Internet.
But, its cloud-based Office 365 starts at a list price of $72 a year, per person, and can cost as much as $240 a person annually - significantly more than Google Apps. Although Microsoft offers many more features and software development capabilities, the product has not won many converts from Google.