The battle for online business application software is about to heat up as Microsoft is set to expand the coverage of its Online Business Services. The service was previously available as a paid subscription to business with a population of 5,000 or more. But Microsoft is suiting for a head on battle with Google’s Search Appliance as it expands the coverage to smaller companies.
Microsoft’s Online Business Services includes online versions of its existing software that includes email program Exchange, and Sharepoint, a collaboration tool which is gaining popularity in the enterprises market today. These new online services will enable businesses to access e-mail, calendaring, contacts, shared workspaces, and web conferencing on a web environment. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said that this move will give customers advanced choice and flexibility in accessing and managing their software.
“With Microsoft Online Services, businesses can deploy software as a subscription service, from servers they manage on-site, or a combination of the two, depending on their specific needs. In the future, customers and partners should expect to see this kind of choice and flexibility for all of Microsoft’s software and server products,” says Gates.
Although direct rivals Google and Yahoo are already way ahead of Microsoft in this arena, Microsoft may pull one off with its online business services. Microsoft can very well bank on loyal corporate users of its desktop software. The major question left to ask is, would Microsoft’s chargers for its online software would be as competitive as the price of its competitors, say Google’s Search Appliance?