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2/2/2010
11:01 AM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
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Will Microsoft Answer Google App Store Challenge?

Google's considering an online store for business applications, the Wall Street Journal reports. If so, it would show Google getting more serious about business software, which is good. It would also lay down a challenge to Microsoft's new Office Online business.

Google's considering an online store for business applications, the Wall Street Journal reports. If so, it would show Google getting more serious about business software, which is good. It would also lay down a challenge to Microsoft's new Office Online business.Here's what the Journal has to say about the app store, which Google declined to discuss:

[People briefed by the company] said the store will sell business software designed by outside developers to integrate and add capabilities to Google Apps, such as enhanced security features or the ability to import contacts. Google Apps provides Web-based email, word-processing and spreadsheet functions. Google could announce the new store--a revamped version of its Solutions Marketplace site that features third-party programs--as soon as March, they said.

Microsoft needs to embrace the app store concept as it brings Office Online out of beta. The iPhone is creating a "there's an app for that" mentality, where people expect to pick and choose features they put on a platform. And, it's showing people will pay a bit (a really little bit) for features, if they're handy or fun enough. So Microsoft needs to make it incredibly easy for people to trick out PowerPoint, Word, and Excel with iPhone-app-esque, one-off additions, in an Office store.

An Office app store approach might be a way to put a value on small features, which Microsoft has traditionally bundled in. Office will struggle to keep its price up against cheap or free online alternatives, and an app store might be a way to get more lifetime cash from customers.

What do you think--would people pay for shortcuts and features that they could tack onto Word, Excel, or PowerPoint? What feature would you pay to add?

For more thoughts on Google: Global CIO: Will Google Miss Its Moment In Enterprise IT?

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