Google Launches Google Apps Premier Edition Reseller ProgramBy Sharon Linsenbach | Posted 2009-01-14 Email Print
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Google's launch of a formal reseller channel partner program for Google Apps Premier Edition could be considered a pre-emptive strike against Microsoft, as the Microsoft Office Web Applications aren't scheduled for release until 2010. Still, a channel partner of both companies says Google's new program stacks up with the best of them.
Google's announcement that it will launch a formal reseller program for its SAAS-based Google Apps Premier Edition could very well be viewed as a pre-emptive strike across the bow of Microsoft, whose own Web-based set of Office Web Applications isn't scheduled for release until 2010.
Google made its reseller news public Jan. 14 in its blog, saying the new
program is specifically for resellers of Google Apps. Google has had the Google
Enterprise partner program in place since 2006 for solution providers that
resell Google enterprise search appliances, Google Apps and Google Maps to
The new reseller program will focus solely on Google Apps Premier Edition, which includes e-mail and chat, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and security and compliance features.
The program will offer VARs a 20 percent discount and the ability to drive recurring services revenue on the Apps suite, which in the past has been sold directly to customers. Google partners will receive $10 per year on each $50 per-user, per-year subscription they sell, and Google states that partners can continue to manage the billing, service and support relationship with the customer.
While Microsoft currently offers e-mail and instant messaging via the Windows Live Essentials suite, the Microsoft's browser-based versions of the Office Suite applications, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, aren't expected to be released until 2010 with the next version of Office, sources say.
That could be plenty of time for Google to strengthen its position in the productivity suite market.
Mike Healey, CTO of GreenPages Technology Solutions, which is both a Google reseller partner and a Microsoft Gold Partner, says the Google program easily holds its own when stacked up against Microsoft's reseller program. According to Healey, Google has done a thorough and methodical job of planning and executing its channel program strategy.
"They have done a fantastic job of actively involving partners in their pilot program, soliciting feedback and really listening to what partners tell them," says Healey. He says Google has a solidly built channel team that should assuage solution provider concerns about signing up for a new, untested program.
"In many ways I feel they have the maturity of a long-standing program," Healey says.
Healey also says he's not surprised Google has moved forward with and expanded its channel program, since solution providers are key to developing and maintaining business growth through enterprise partners.
"Google knows you can't penetrate the enterprise space without a channel program," Healey says.
But with such low price points, will solution providers be able to generate decent margins on Google business?