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December 27, 2012

Google Hopes to Nab 90 Percent of Microsoft Office Clients

Google has big plans for 2013 — taking away 90 percent of Microsoft’s Office clientel.

Google VP and head of the company’s enterprise unit Amit Singh told AllThingsD the technology giant’s “goal is to get to the 90 percent of users who don’t need to have the most advanced features of Office.”

Google has put its focus on enterprise in 2012: its Compute Engine competes with Microsoft Azure, Google Drive allows Google App users to store documents “in the cloud” and the company is now charging customers to use Google Apps.

Businesses of all sizes wishing to sign up for Google Apps now have to shell out $50 a year. The change, Google said, is because its basic app, used by millions of businesses, is no longer meeting the needs of its users.

Companies of all sizes now must sign up for the premium version: Google Apps for Business. This app includes round-the-clock phone support for any issue, a 25GB inbox and a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee with no scheduled downtime. The app has an annual fee of $50 per user.

Some of Google’s biggest customers include Costco, Dillards, Kohl’s and Office Depot.

All of these changes, Singh says, have caused other large companies to take notice of “what they can build using Google’s scale.”

“And we launched the next generation of Chromebooks. 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.”

These changes, Singh says, will also enable the firm to control the enterprise market by pilfering Office users from Microsoft.

“We know the gaps between our features and theirs. We’re improving them week-by-week. We’re going to get to the 90 percent.”

Google Sheets, for instance, does tables graphing, etc., out of the box.

“In Q3, if you import from Excel into Sheets, you won’t be able to tell the difference in Sheets,” Singh says. “The next thing is the import from PowerPoint to Slides. That’s where QuickOffice is going to help us a lot.”

Singh says Google has Android developers working on Enterprise applications.

“The Android ecosystem for Enterprise is getting better, now that we’ve added things like encryption, and the same is happening on Chrome,” he tells AllThingsD. “As Google Apps gets wider and stronger, the ecosystem is getting strong, as people want to extend its capabilitles.

“There’s Backupify; there’s Cloud Log for audits. There’s Smartsheet. We’re seeing the natural evolution, but you can expect us to spend more time cultivating that in the coming year. There’s also a strong ecosystem around implementation and support of Google Apps. We’ve gone from 3,000 partners to 6,000 in one year. So now there’s this massive distribution.”