Google launches apps suite for business

$50 price tag for Premier Edition

$50 price tag for Premier Edition

Google is hoping companies will pay $50 per user for a business version of its application suite.

Google Apps Premier Edition offers services such as email and spreadsheets - with businesses paying for a 24-hour phone support line and 10GB of storage for every user.

The enterprise offering also includes APIs (application programming interfaces) to enable businesses to customise the look and feel of the hosted apps with company logos.

Companies are able to opt out of using Google's advertising within emails and the hosted sites.

Businesses will be charged an annual rate of $50 for every user account, with extra costs incurred if a company asks for additional storage capacity.

The applications have been tested by a handful of organisations - with each company trialling the Premier Edition to a few hundred employees.

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Andrew Johnson, CIO of San Francisco Bay Paediatrics, which took part in the Premier Edition trials, said doctors don't have the time or budget to deal with managing technology or defending against spam - and the Google suite meant they didn't have to worry about downloading the latest spam filters or navigating unwieldy servers.

Salesforce.com and Proctor & Gamble Business Services have already signed up for the Premier Edition.

Roberto Solimene, European enterprise director for Google, said the new Google Apps offer businesses massive savings as they do not need to manage or buy the infrastructure to host corporate information.

Solimene told silicon.com this is a natural expansion for the company into the corporate world.

Google retained its stance of working with and not against Microsoft. Solimene said the Premier Edition should complement business software already in place, such as Office 2007.

The company also announced today that all editions of Google Apps now include Google Docs and Spreadsheet, and support Gmail for BlackBerrys.