Google has announced the launch of Google Apps Premier Edition, a set of essential business software tools that sees the search giant take on Microsoft in a key market area.
The new service costs $50 per employee account per year and includes telephone technical support, 10 gigabytes of storage per user and a service delivery guarantee of 99.9% up time.
Google Apps Premier Edition, as the name would suggest, is a paid version of Google Apps,a service introduced six months ago as a free service that offers gmail, Google calender, Google Talk and Google Documents and Spreadsheets, but set to the business’ physical domain (name.com).
According to a Reuters report, more than 100,000 small businesses use the existing free Google Apps service and hundreds of universities around the world are using a free version of the service that is free of ads.
“We have a volume goal … for millions and millions of users,” Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said in an interview. While big-business buying cycles will take time, he cautioned, “we have lots of indications of very large deals.”
Schmidt challenged Microsoft’s competing product Microsoft Live stating “We can offer a more functional product for a lower price”.