Monday, May 7, 2007

Google Looking for Traction with Online Apps

March 28, 2007

Google Looking for Traction with Online Apps

At the ICT for Sub-Saharan Africa Conference in San Francisco last week, Google’s Internet strategist Vint Cerf announced that the company will offer
free Google Apps to universities in Kenya and Rwanda. Over 200,000 students and government employees will have free access to online applications such as G-mail, Google Docs and Spreadsheets, Talk, Calendar and Page Creator.

Google would clearly like to break Microsoft’s hold on desktop applications by making them web-based services. In Africa, they are searching for globally-viable marketing, pricing and distribution models. They’re also testing the acceptance of new models in a key demographic – university students. Vital Wave Consulting research confirms that that education is a high-growth segment for ICT in developing countries. And its connection to other market segments makes this a strategic play for Google.

Microsoft is not asleep at the wheel. The company hosted the “
Under the Radar” conference last week, at which several start-ups demonstrated online applications that would complement or rival MS Office. If Google and/or Microsoft change the desktop software business model to web-based services, there will be an excellent opportunity for smaller developers to offer emerging-market buyers online applications with a competitive price, locally relevant uses, and the right mix of services.

Also in the news this week

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