Google in corporate desktop push
Google has linked up with IT consultancy and outsourcing specialist CapGemini to target corporate customers with its range of desktop applications, in the search engine's most direct move against the dominance of Microsoft.
CapGemini, which already runs the desktops of more than a million corporate workers, will provide its customers with "Google Apps" such as email, calendar, spreadsheets and word processing.
CapGemini is one of Microsoft's partners for its new Vista operating system and will continue to use products from Microsoft and Lotus Notes owner IBM, but adding Google is a vote of confidence in the company's applications. CapGemini is already installing Google Apps in its first major corporate customer.
"Microsoft is an important partner to us as is IBM," said the head of partnerships at CapGemini's outsourcing business, Richard Payling. "In our client base we have a mix of Microsoft users and Lotus Notes users and we now have our first Google Apps user. But CapGemini is all about freedom, giving clients choice of the most appropriate technology that is going to fit their business environment."
Google's applications such as its Google Docs word processing and spreadsheet service allow several people to work on one document and see changes in real time.
"If you look at the traditional desktop it is very focused on personal productivity," said Robert Whiteside, Google enterprise manager, UK and Ireland. "What Google Apps brings is team productivity."
CapGemini will collect the £25 licence fee charged by Google for its applications, which launched in February.
It will make further revenues from helping clients use the new applications, providing helpdesk services and maintenance. It will also provide help with corporate security, especially for applications such as email, as well as storage and back-up services.
CapGemini expects customers to mix and match products, providing some users with expensive Microsoft tools and others with cheaper and lower-spec Google Apps.
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