Google has found a new way to push its applications out to many business users

While Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL are bickering with each other, Google is trying to pad its own lead by making deals of its own.  Google expanded its collaboration deal with Salesforce, a leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution provider. 

Google and Salesforce worked out a deal that will integrate Google Apps, including Gmail into Saleforce's software.  Saleforce's user base will now have access to these integrated options neatly inside their standard CRM software.  The software had previously only had the Google AdWords component built into it.

Many see Google Apps as a direct assault by Google on Microsoft's Office suite, one of Microsoft's most long-standing and most valuable businesses.  With Google pushing for an offline version of its Apps, which include an office suite, and it incorporating the programs into business software, many see the move as an attempt to cut away at Microsoft's Office business.  Said Garett Rogers of the blog Googling Google, "Google Apps is quickly becoming a pain in Microsoft’s side."

The deal has yet to be officially announced by Google and Salesforce, but the two companies published several papers on the deal.  According to Salesforce, clients can use Gmail, Google Chat, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and Google Startpage with sales and marketing dashboard components.  Users can associate Google Docs with sales data inside the Salesforce apps.

It is clear that Google Docs lags behind the capabilities of Microsoft Office, and would not meet all the needs of power users.  Also, many business users likely write off Microsoft Office license fees as business expenses.  And many note that Salesforce users already likely have Microsoft Office on their notebooks, making Google Apps less critical.

Nonetheless, Salesforce is touting a few of its clients as Google Apps success stories.  Many hope that these examples will both encourage Microsoft's Office team to stay competitive and innovative, and likewise will motivate Google's Doc team to improve on its bare bones functionality.

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