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Google Apps Boots Office Out of DC

Whoever wins the presidential election in a few weeks' time, George W. Bush will be on his way out of Washington, DC -- and Microsoft Office will be right behind him.

OK, so we're only talking about the municipal level in DC here, not the federal big time, but Google Apps scored a victory recently with the news that it had toppled long-time incumbent Microsoft Office as the District's productivity suite of choice.

It's a drop in -- or maybe out of -- Office's ocean, of course, but Google's SaaS suite is starting to appeal to cost-conscious organizations such as municipalities and universities http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_apps_microsoft_dc.php. And while Microsoft Office isn't likely to go the way of the old-school investment bank anytime soon, we do wonder when -- and whether -- Microsoft will get serious about creating a true SaaS version of Office.

Thus far, Steve Ballmer has stuck to his Software Plus Services mantra for Office, and the old dog can now do a few new online tricks. But it hasn't yet gone fully online, and it likely won't if Ballmer gets his way.

Of course, all of that kind of seemed like a bigger deal last week, when the stock market seemed to face a future as bleak as that of the Patriots without Tom Brady, and pundits were discussing whether companies would start to look to options that cost less than traditional software implementations. (By the way, the injuries to Brady and Tony Romo have now left your editor free to enjoy crisp fall New England Sunday afternoons away from the TV. Darn it.)

As we write this newsletter on Monday afternoon, though, the Dow and NASDAQ have just closed up about 11 percent each (reverse caveat here: they could both be down another 10 percent by the time you read this, although we seriously doubt it), and presumably we're all in the money again. So, the SaaS revolution might not be picking up steam as quickly as it might have -- which is fine, as we'd prefer having a job and sticking with Office to being unemployed and using (or hearing about how others are using) Google Apps.

Still, it's worth keeping an eye on how steadily Google Apps keeps gnawing away at Office and how Microsoft responds in the months and years to come. Google Apps hasn't even really begun to scratch the paint on Microsoft's money machine, much less throw a wrench in the works ... but just as presidents come and go and markets bounce, times change and priorities change. Besides, we had to write about something on a holiday-slash-slow news day.

How have your experiences been with Google Apps? Tell us at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 10/14/2008 at 1:22 PM


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