Google Apps, open for Bid’ness

Google has had their cross hairs on Microsoft for a long time. They claim to not be interested in what Redmonds’ up to, but they’ve been successfully picking off their weaker products like strangling tourists in a jungle of lions. This week, though – they took a shot at the leader of Microsoft’s pack, Exchange and Office.

I’ve been beta testing this service for a while, and have grown very fond of Gmail’s spam filtering abilities – bar none the best out there, managed or unmanaged. Their docs and spreadsheets gives you about 90% of what Microsoft Office will give you out of the box – and wrap it all up in a nice web based system that whisks away the problems of backups, server maintenance, and OS patching.

Microsoft claims to have shared documents in Office ’07 out of the box, but you have to sign up for a free .net account or setup yet another server to handle that task. Google offers shared docs out of the box.

For those deeply embedded in Microsoft software – this offering may not even be on the radar. Lets face it, Exchange and Outlook is a damn fine groupware package. But for those companies who aren’t so far invested in Redmond’s offers, this could potentially be a viable alternative to forklifting in an Exchange environment that isn’t DST ’07 ready out of the box.

And at $50 per user annually, 10GB of storage, and no advertisements, your email domain stays exactly the same, and your email is accessible from anywhere in the world – this is a pretty good rate.

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