After much speculation, Google has indeed launched a paid version of its online office applications, taking a solid stance against Microsoft in the process.
Google Apps Premier Edition can already claim General Electric among its users and with a measly $50 per user, per year, price tag, many others are likely to follow suit.
So what do you get for your $50 a year? According to the WSJ…
[Google Apps Premier Edition] includes more email storage and support for companies’ technology staff, as well as guarantees that the email service will be available virtually all of the time. Google says it expects to add other services to the bundles, possibly including its Blogger tool for creating Web logs, by year end.
No sign of any Powerpoint alternative, but with so many rumors of its existence, we’ll likely see that added by the year’s end too.
As I’ve said previously, this is a big departure for Google, which has traditionally relied on AdWords revenue to support its offerings. Can they challenge Microsoft Office and will they realize that many people won’t switch until there’s a way to access documents and email when not connected to the web?
Watch the chatter…