The two technology giants have launched simultaneous initiatives in the battle for Web 2.0 supremacy.

Microsoft and Google go head to head

Microsoft is responding to the threat of new software delivery models, such as Google’s new Premier Edition of Google Apps, by creating a new partner channel designed to cater specifically for the emerging technologies and accompanying services often referred to as Web 2.0.

The Partnering for the Future initiative will involve building a new channel of partners. These will be recruited from Microsoft’s 35,000-strong existing partner base as well as new ones from non-traditional IT organisations which are well-placed to sell software as a value-add to their own service.

Karl Noakes, director of channel development at Microsoft (pictured), said: “Over the next three years developments in the internet will change the way we do business. To succeed in this new environment, Microsoft needs to evolve its approach to partnering.”

“By encouraging our partners to capitalise on emerging services such as advertising-based software, subscription/on-demand software, and software offered as a value-add to existing services, we hope to increase their profitability and further their ability to remain competitive in the changing technology world.”

With remarkable timing, the updated version of Google Apps has been released at almost exactly the same time. It is comprised of web based e-mail, calendaring, messaging, talk, spreadsheet and word processing applications, all accesses over the internet, of course.

On top of what is offered in the standard free version, the new Software as a Service (SaaS) package has a number of new features such as 10 GB mail storage, a 99.9 per cent email uptime guarantee, telephone support and the ability to integrate with existing IT systems. Google is hoping to attract more business users of all sizes on the strength of these additions.

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