Google CEO Eric Schmidt doth protest too much that Google Office is no Microsoft Office.
BUT, will users buy it, literally.
The Google Apps Premier day of reckoning was to have been but seven days away. On April 30, Google was set to turn on the payment required switch to its Google Apps Premiere, ending the "free trial" it pitched upon the upgrade release in February.
But no, apparently wary of a light turnout for Google Apps at a $50 annual fee, Google has extended the "free trial" offer and continues to subsidize its ad-free version of Google Apps. As of now, Google Apps Premiere is still available as a "free trial," through May 31, 2007.
BUT, Google may very well be on a Google Checkout-like track. Google has repeatedly extended its subsidies of that non quite killer-app service, promising to continue underwriting the cost of Google Checkout for merchants "through 2008."
Rather than adding directly to the Google coffers, Google Checkout is a cash drain, as I analyze in Google Checkout is a loser, really. Google is determined to keep Checkout afloat, regardless of cost, because of its strategic AdWords import to Google.
In the Google vs. Microsoft battle, Google Apps Premiere is certainly of strategic importance.
But will enterprises actually BUY it?
It hasn't been smooth enterprise sailing for Google Apps, as I have been reporting and analyzing in depth since its debut. SEE:
Beware: Google cloud platform exposed
Google Office enterprise security snafu
Google to Calendar users: Read the instructions
Google Oops: Gmail fix alerts
Google Apps: Gmail SLA jury still out
Google Gmail SLA guarantee?
Google Apps data risks: Security vs. privacy
Google’s not so fine print: Google Apps TOS put Google first
Google Apps is risky business