reporting that Google has partnered with major IT consultancy and outsourcing specialist CapGemini, to sell Google Apps to enterprises. CapGemini, which is also a partner of Microsoft and IBM, will keep the $50 per user fee that Google charges for Google Apps Premier Edition. They will also make money off services. CapGemini currently manages about a million desktops for corporate clients.UK newspaper The Guardian is
Interestingly, CapGemini's strategy is to "mix and match" Microsoft and Google office products - so it seems Google Apps will be a complement, moreso than a replacement, for Microsoft Office. Google too seems to be pushing the complement line. Robert Whiteside, Google enterprise manager for UK and Ireland, is quoted as saying: "If you look at the traditional desktop it is very focused on personal productivity. What Google Apps brings is team productivity."
Nick Carr has some more info on this news. He spoke to Steve Jones, a Capgemini outsourcing executive, who told Carr there were two main advantages of Google Apps:
"First, it allows the many thousands of workers who don't have their own PCs or their own copies of Office - from factory hands to call-center agents - to gain access to email, calendars, and other personal-productivity applications. Up to now, says Jones, licensing and data-storage costs have prohibited these "disenfranchised employees" from being given access to Office-style apps. Because Google charges only $50 a year per user for Apps and stores all email messages and other data in its own systems, it lowers the cost barrier substantially.
Second, says Jones, Google Apps simplifies collaboration, particularly between employees working at different companies [...]"
This is an interesting move by Google - not so much the outsourcing to CapGemini, because that is a common and almost necessary way to crack the enterprise market. Of more interest to me is how Google is positioning Google Apps as a complement to Microsoft Office. It's almost admitting that Google Apps isn't good enough to be a standalone office suite yet. And to be frank, they are right - it isn't. So for now, riding into the enterprise on the coattails of the big kahunas (MS Office and to a lesser extent IBM) is a pretty cunning strategy.