A smart wrap-up article this morning at internetnews.com quotes several analysts' views on the impact for enterprises of the ultra-hyped Google Apps for your Domain -- broadly heralded as "Google Office" v.1.
Perhaps the smartest comment is that any type of pressure, even from a rival with only a little more than $1 million in enterprise revenue, may keep Office pricing in check. After all, Linux has had the same general effect on backbone infrastructure.
A Gartner analyst says that Microsoft should be very worried about Google in the SMB space, where the high cost of Office can pose a meaningful hit to the bottom line. Gmail for business seems to be the real opportunity for Google; the Gartner analyst suggests Microsoft should have had a similar Hotmail offering years ago.
However, an analyst from Directions on Microsoft counters that while Microsoft certainly needs to be concerned about low-cost threats to its Office gravy train, some of Google's applications really aren't all that great right now.
In fact, he goes on to say that Google should probably work to make its software available offline (Web 2.0, not so much) and that Google may simply be aiming to shore up its advertising inventory by getting small businesses to use Gmail.
Of course, we'd tend to agree. From a revenue point of view, Google is an advertising company, not a software company. It's made its money by giving away software in exchange for ad inventory, not by selling software to big business.
If small companies are serious about finding an alternative to Microsoft Office, they should take a hard look at OpenOffice and the slew of open source alternatives already out there on the market.
They are much better than the word processing and spreadsheet tools offered by Google, they aren't stuffed full of ads, and you can use them on an airplane.