Though Google Apps is nowhere near as popular as Microsoft’s enterprise collaborative suite, its still managed to reach its first milestone. One million enterprise users have made the transition to Google Apps so far with many more on the horizon. With the addition of features like Google Video and other future enhancement, the future only looks brighter.
Google has been claiming over 500,000 active business customers, primarily small businesses, using at least one of the Google Apps services- with more than 10 million active users combined. In addition, thousands of universities, with more than one million active users, are using Google Apps. So far, Google’s biggest wins are Valeo, a leading automotive suppliers, with 32,000 users, and the District of Columbia, with 38,000 employees, according to CNet News.
One of the big problems that skews the numbers, is the fact that a majority of Google Apps users are non-paying customers. The company maintains that “hundreds of thousands” of users are paying the $50 annual fee for the premium service. That may explain the fact that Google Apps only brought in a total of $4 Million in revenue in 2007 compared to Microsoft’s $18 Billion for its efforts. At this point, Google is underplaying the number of Google Apps business customers, the company has been saying that it is adding 3,000 businesses a day, which amounts to over 1 million per year. With those estimates, the reality today is that Google has far more than a million Apps business customers. Why would they want to downplay usage numbers?
At the present time, Google Apps is providing a “good enough” experience to business users, but as the industry moves towards a cloud-based computing environment- in which business users will likely do first- Google Apps will become much more appealing when compared to the proprietary Microsoft Exchange and Sharepoint. When the larger companies begin adding to the “paying customers” list, Microsoft will have a run for its money.