Google's attempting to take on Microsoft's Office empire with Google Apps for Business and is making some headway competing with the entrenched corporate giant. The New York Times reports on some of these inroads, like the Milwaukee-based Journal Communications moving thousands over to Google Apps over the next few months. That's just one of 5,000 business Google is signing up each day on the strength of its lower cost (estimated at 50 to 80 percent cheaper than Microsoft Office) and socially integrated services. David Girouard, director of Google's Business Apps group, believes "You need to have a social system, where a guy can introduce an idea... and [get] input from a lot of people quickly." The easy collaboration features on Google's apps certainly make this a strength.
Despite these advantages, Google is having difficulty reaching the biggest corporations due to Office's entrenchment and the challenge of converting end users to a new system. Microsoft claims it sells a copy of Office 2010 every single second, and also has research that shows nine out of ten people who use Google Apps still keep Office installed on their computers. From a numbers perspective, Microsoft is pulling in $5.6 billion in Office revenue, compared to $150 million for Google Apps. However, Google's estimated $30 billion in search-related revenue means it can take the long-term approach to winning over new customers. And if cloud-based business is the way of the future, Google's experience should give it a leg up over Microsoft's relatively new Office Web Apps program.