Google continues to reach into the application side of the web wholeheartedly while dabbling in the device area as well. It is likely that Google is smart enough to see what happened to the PC industry when it was finally realized that “It’s the application, stupid!”. As a result it looks like Google is readying another opportunity to get deeper into the application game while turning the corner from being totally “free” to generating revenue from their efforts. Imagine that. Revenue.
Google Inc. is preparing to launch a store selling online business software that integrates with its Web services, according to people briefed by the company, enlisting software developers in its battle against Microsoft Corp.
These people said the store will sell business software designed by outside developers to integrate and add capabilities to Google Apps, such as enhanced security features or the ability to import contacts. Google Apps provides Web-based email, word-processing and spreadsheet functions.
Google could announce the new store—a revamped version of its Solutions Marketplace site that features third-party programs—as soon as March, they said.
The revenue side of this is that Google would so a revenue share with the developers thus getting a piece of everything sold through this online marketplace. Google is officially shying away from an actual announcement but it makes sense that they would head in this direction. The goal is to take a bite out of Microsoft’s lead in this area for the enterprise. The smallest of the SMB’s of the world can usually get by with free versions of the tools but the enterprise requires more functionality. Google has been making inroads in getting larger customers to use the Google apps platform like the City of Los Angeles and others.
Google says more than two million businesses are using the paid or free version of Google Apps. There are around 500 million users of Microsoft Office, according to Microsoft.
Google is turning to developers to help fill the holes and develop features its online software lacks, such as specialized editing software or tools to access online files offline.
The new store borrows a page from other technology companies including Apple Inc. and Salesforce.com Inc., which have tried to broaden the appeal of devices and software by opening up to outside developers.
While some bemoan the fact that Google is looking to charge for something that they feel should be free I think those days are finally starting to move along. Free doesn’t pay the bills and there is absolutely NO obligation to any company to provide the people as a whole with free services. None. So if anyone barks about the idea of charging for online business software they are missing the point. It takes money to do this stuff.
There is plenty of opportunity for sure. And we can be assured that where there is opportunity there will be Google.