The New York Times writes:
On Thursday, Google, the Internet search giant, will unveil a package of communications and productivity software aimed at businesses, which overwhelmingly rely on Microsoft products for those functions.
The package, called Google Apps, combines two sets of previously available software bundles. One included programs for e-mail, instant messaging, calendars and Web page creation; the other, called Docs and Spreadsheets, included programs to read and edit documents created with Microsoft Word and Excel, the mainstays of Microsoft Office, an $11 billion annual franchise.
The e-mail and messaging package, which is based on products like Gmail, Googles e-mail service, has been available in a free trial since August and is supported by advertising. It has been used by thousands of businesses, educational institutions and other organizations, Google said.