January 29, 2009, 10:25 AM — Some VARs have expressed skepticism about signing up for Google's reseller program. The deal for reselling the Google Apps Premier Edition (GAPE) is an attractive one, but doesn't seem to have legs yet. Many resellers are already involved with Microsoft's own Software Plus Services initiative, and would have little incentive to make a switch.
The GAPE offering is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) program, which offers messaging, collaboration, and security and competes with Microsoft's own online hosted suites. With Microsoft having a headstart against Google--and also a lot more experience in the channel--it may be hard for Google to get a foothold in this market. But, one should not underestimate a powerhouse such as Google. It will take time, but the company has the wherewithal and financial resources to wait it out. They're certainly not going to put Microsoft out of the SaaS business, but given a few years' time, they will take a worthwhile piece of it.
Google is working hard to add value to its cloud offering however, and just decided to add offline functionality to Gmail accounts. This strategy mirrors Microsoft's (Software plus Services) strategy of combining on-premises software and services with the cloud.